Facebook Better for Following Blogs than RSS

Facebook Better for Following Blogs than RSS

RSS-Facebook

Facebook has made it so much easier to follow just about anything.  RSS feeds and Twitter are still an option for many people. However, with Facebook, once someone “likes” a page, it shows up in their feed on their homepage whenever anything from that page is updated.  Unlike Twitter and RSS feeds, on Facebook, it is easier to see pictures and information.

It is simple to create a Facebook page that includes links to blogs like this one.  What I think is great about a Facebook page is that I can incorporate links to this blog, to my other blogs, and any other sites.  It is an all-in-one spot to access information. To see my Facebook page, click here.

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Changing the Way Students Perform Online Research

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Google and other search engines have changed the way people locate information.  The problem is that online students think of Google as a proper tool to use to perform research for assignments.  Google Scholar may provide access to some scholarly research.  However, most online schools prefer that students use the school’s library search feature.  It is important that students consider the reliability of the type of content that is available on traditional websites.

Pew reported that the majority of students are not able to recognize bias in online content.  This has become frustrating for professors because these skills should be taught in first-year college courses.  Turnitin’s white paper titled What’s Wrong with Wikipedia, reported that in over 37 million papers submitted by students, there were 156 million matches to content found from the Internet.  This means that students use sites like Google Books, May Clinic, Yahoo Answers, Wikipedia, etc.  These are unacceptable sources to use for college-level courses.

According to Turnitin’s research, the following problems exist with student’s research behavior:

  • Problem: Students value immediacy over quality – Students use sites like Wikipedia to find quick answers.  Wikipedia may offer some valuable resources at the bottom of their site to support the content. Solution:  These sources are usually available through the school’s library search feature.  Schools’ search engines are quite easy to use. They access some of the best material available for free.  Students can easily mark a box for peer-reviewed studies.  This will ensure that their research contains quality information.
  • Problem:  Students often use cheat sites – Students may find sites that offer to write their papers for a fee.  Most of these papers are captured within Turnitin’s plagiarism detecting software. Therefore when students buy the paper and submit as their own, the software will detect it as plagiarized.  Solution:  The time it takes to find and buy a paper on the Internet could have been used to simply write an original paper.  Nothing is gained from submitted plagiarized work.  Students risk getting expelled.  Most assignments are not that long or difficult.  The point of writing them is to gain knowledge.  Students who attend school just to obtain a piece of paper will not be prepared for the working world.  They will spend money on a degree that will not help them if they have not learned the information.
  • Problem:  Research is not synonymous with search – Students may put a lot of faith in the information found on the Internet.  Just because a site allows people to ask and answer questions, does not mean that the answers are correct. Searching for answers on the Internet does not mean that the answers are based on actual research.  Solution:  Using peer-reviewed sources that are available through the school’s library ensures that the information in the article has been reviewed by the author’s peers.  These studies are actual research.

There are times when assignments allow for students to use websites like Apple.com, or other corporate or news sites.  If this is allowed by the instructor, students must be able to recognize if the site is highly regarded. An example might be The New York Times.  If students are in doubt, they should direct questions to their instructor for guidance.

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Have You Been Retargeted?

Target

If you have ever shopped online for an item and then later noticed an ad for that exact item on another page, you have been retargeted.  It may cause some problems for people who are trying to surprise others with something special. Consider the scenario of the man who has searched for engagement rings. If his future fiancé should suddenly have ads for rings show up all over their shared computer screen, the jig may be up!

To see what it is like to be retargeted, try going to the site:  GreatCall.  Once you are on that site, you will notice they sell a phone service.  You might then decide to go to a site like Dictionary.com.  Once you get to the dictionary site, you might notice that suddenly there is an ad for GreatCall.

Now take a look at the top right corner of that ad. There is a little sideways triangle that you can click that explains AdSense.  “The AdChoices symbol appears on web pages and ads to let you know when information about your interests or demographics may have been collected or used to show you ads – what’s known as interest-based advertising. You can opt out of interest-based ads, as well interest-based advertising from other participating companies by visiting the aboutads.info choices page.” Click on the following link to find out how to manage your ad preferences.

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Reverse Image Search with Google

There is a unique way to look for meanings behind pictures on the Internet.  By simply uploading an image into Images.google.com, the search engine can provide a list of places where that image was obtained.  There are several other ways to find out more about images if you don’t want to upload the file.  You can drag and drop an image into the search box, you can copy and paste the URL of an image and then click the camera icon on the Google images search line, or you can download the Chrome or Firefox extension and right-click an image to search for that image.

Think about going on a vacation, taking a picture and then uploading that image to find out more about the image.  That is one of the things that this site claims can be accomplished. When I put in my Gravitar image, it worked well. However, I uploaded several vacation pictures to see what it would display.  It did not give accurate information.

This has some interesting possibilities.  Check out the following video for more information about searching images with reverse image search from Google:

The Ethics of Google

“Don’t Be Evil” is Google’s informal corporate slogan. The founders of Google claimed that this motto explained their culture that “prohibited conflicts of interest, and required objectivity and an absence of bias.” According to Google’s code of conduct page this slogan is, “about providing our users unbiased access to information, focusing on their needs and giving them the best products and services that we can. But it’s also about doing the right thing more generally – following the law, acting honorably and treating each other with respect.”

Can Google do business in an ethical manner if they allow for people to search for unethical content? Laws may decide what is legal, but who decides what is unethical or evil?

Every day someone searches for how to do something illegal and/or unethical through utilizing Google’s search engine. How much content should Google censor?  The following articles address Google censorship issues:

U.S. News reported, “The company is based in the United States, and thus must comply with U.S. laws. As a part of its policy, Google already censors things like child pornography, and complies with copyright infringement requests (a heavy volume of which come from videos uploaded on YouTube). Yet because services such as YouTube and Blogger are popular around the world, the company must decide to what extent it will remove content deemed illegal or offensive to foreign governments.”

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What You Should Know About Push Notifications

Anyone who has installed iPad or iPhone apps has probably seen the notification: “Would Like to Send You Push Notifications” (with the options of don’t allow or OK).  IpadAcademy.com explains, “Push notifications are a way for an app to send information to your iPad or iPhone even when you aren’t using the app.”  If you’ve noticed the number of email listed on your email icon, that is there due to a push notification.  That notification reminds you that you have mail without making you actually open up the application.

IOS (Apple’s system) is not the only one that utilizes push notifications.  Android and Windows smartphones also use them.  Check out:  Not all Push Created Equal.

Apple’s IOS system provides 3 types of push notifications.  To manage these notifications for an iPad or iPhone, you “Go to Settings > Notifications to choose the apps you want to receive notifications from. You can also select what form you’d like the notice to take – sound, badge, alert or banner, depending on the options the app includes.”  For more help, check out:  IOS:  Understanding Push Notifications.

Some push notifications may be very useful.  However, TheNextWeb explained push notifications need to be smarter.  Having the ability to adjust how they work may need to be adjusted.  Lifehacker explained that push notifications may not be the best thing.  In the article You Should Forget About Push Notifications for Your Email, author Adam Pash stated, “the vibrating pulse in your pocket indicating the arrival of a new email; the unpredictable “ding” from your desktop’s email notification; these things are killing your focus and destroying your ability to work to your capacity.”

Push notifications are an effective marketing tool. Check out the following video explaining why:

MobileMarketer warned that apps need to be pushy but not too pushy to be effective. “ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL is not an effective strategy in any marketing channel. An effective push notification strategy should maximize the likelihood of message relevance and a beneficial value exchange between brand and customer.”

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Facebook Advertising Appeal

When a company like Facebook goes IPO, there is a lot of discussion about future potential for income.  One area where Facebook may increase revenue is through advertising.  Facebook took a big hit this week when GM killed a $10 million advertising campaign deal. GM claimed that Facebook ads were ineffective.  DailyFinance.com reported, “Click-through rates are much lower on Facebook than they are on the internet generally, or on Google (Facebook: 0.051%, Google: 0.4%, Average: 0.1%)”

One way for an ad to be effective is for it to reach the target audience.  Understanding a company’s target demographic is important.  The following chart demonstrates the age of Facebook users:

According to Statista, “This statistic shows the age distribution of Facebook users in the United States as of April 2012. During that period of time, the majority of local Facebook users were between 18 and 24 years old. Furthermore, the most popular Facebook activities of U.S. users were posting on walls and checking the internal newsfeed.”

According to Facebook’s advertising Q&A area, there are some limitations regarding how advertisers may reach a specific demographic.  Other than age and birthday-specific advertising, Facebook targets based on location, interest, education and connection advertising.  This differs from Google that allows targeting by interest, keywords, remarketing, location and demographics.

BusinessInsider explained the difference between advertising on Facebook vs. Google in terms of reach and revenue.  “Total reach for Facebook is 51% of all internet users.  Total reach for Google is 90% of all internet users.  First quarter revenue for Facebook is $1.06 billion, down 6.5 percent year on year and down 32 percent sequentially.  First quarter revenue for Google is $2.09 billion, up 1 percent year on year and up 0.7 percent sequentially.”

Facebook is hoping to use friendships to sell products and brands.  Check out the following video to find out more about this and the importance of geofencing.  According to Amos Content Group, “A geofence is a virtual perimeter around a real area as in within a block of a restaurant. Marketers can use this location-based service to target a passersby who has opted in to send deals or information to smartphones.”  Facebook’s friendship-based approach could influence geofencing.

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Importance of Unique and Repeat Visitors

Keeping track of unique visitors helps determine effectiveness of marketing strategies.  Webopedia explained that the term unique visitor “refers to a person who visits a Web site more than once within a specified period of time.” It may be difficult to determine the exact number of unique visitors a site may have.  PC Magazine explained, “Unique visitors are determined by the number of unique IP addresses on incoming requests that a site receives, but this can never be 100% accurate. Depending on configuration issues and type of ISP service, in some cases, one IP address can represent many users; in other cases, several IP addresses can be from the same user.”

How important are unique visitors?  Check out Unique Visitors are not everything. In this article, the author points out that it may be a “misleading stat, as Jakob Nielsen explains, Chasing higher unique-visitor counts will undermine your long-term positioning because you’ll design gimmicks rather than build features that bring people back and turn them into devotees and customers.”

There seems to be confusion between unique visitors and repeat visitors in some of the articles on the Internet.  In the article Defining Unique Visitors by Imediaconnection, Brant Dainow explained, “Understanding your repeat visitors is where the money is. The reason is simple: it takes an average of 2.4 visits to your site before someone will buy. In other words, most people buy on the second or third visit to your site. No one buys the first time they visit. Repeat visitors are the ones who matter. Repeat visitors buy the products, and therefore repeat visitors pay your bills.”

Statista created an infographic that demonstrates unique visitors per month as well as average monthly use per visitor for sites like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, MySpace, Google, Tumblr, and Pinterest.  Not only does Facebook far exceed all others in unique visitors, users are spending over 6 hours per month on the site.  This is over 600 times the amount of time spent on Google+.

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Top Links Explaining Texting (SMS) and Short Codes

Just as Twitter has grown to be an important marketing tool, texting is not just for stating LOL anymore. There are some very important uses for texting, aka SMS (short messaging service). Check out some helpful links to explain texting terminology and uses:

  1. Donate to Charity – Pew Research recently reported that almost 1 in 10 Americans donate to charity through texting.
  2. Search Sites Like Google – By texting GOOGL (46645), you can search Google without opening your browser. Check out:  Six Things You Never Knew Your Cell Phone Could Do. Word/number texts like GOOGL (46645) are called common short codes.  Check out:  Basics of CSCs to find out everything you need to know about common short codes.
  3. Send and Receive Email – To find out how to use SMS to access email, check out:  16 Things You  Can Do With SMS Text Messages.
  4. Check the Weather – By texting 4CAST (42278), you can access weather forecasts.  Check out:  Five Great Things You Can Do With a Text Message For Free.
  5. Check Calendar – By texting GEVENT (48368), you can access your Google calendar and schedule appointments.  Check out: Ten Terrific Things You Can Do With Text Messaging.
  6. Track Packages – Your SMS can track your UPS, Fed Ex, DHL and other packages through TrackThis.  Check out:  Run Your Life with SMS:  10 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do Via Text.
  7. Learn Texting Abbreviations – You may know LOL, but there is an entire site of information dedicated to explaining what all of those text messaging and online chat abbreviations mean and text message abbreviations.
  8. Text From a Computer – If you have a computer and someone’s 10-digit phone number, you can text them without needing a phone.  The following explains how to text people based on their carrier (i.e., Verizon, AT&T, etc.):  Text from a Computer.
  9. Create a Common Short Code (CSC) – You can create your own CSC campaign by leasing a code.  Check out:  Obtaining a CSC.  Remember the CSC is like GOOGL or 4CAST noted above.  Keep in mind that leasing the code is the first step. You’ll still need to negotiate agreements with each of the wireless carriers to activate your short code. To be part of the CSCA directory listing, click here.
  10. Enhance Business – Business can utilize short codes for contests, lead capture and more.  Check out:  Top 10 Business Goals Enhanced by Short Codes.

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Google+ Uses for Educators: Good or Bad?

Easy accessibility to Google+ makes it an option for educators to share important information with their students.  The author of the article 25 Great Google+ Tips for Teachers explains some unusual ways that educators have found to use this new social networking tool. 

Google+ hangouts area can be used to create a virtual classroom.  Mindshift reported, “Google Hangouts allows up to 10 people to video chat with one another.” Students can follow each other to see the research that they are doing for group projects.  Interesting articles can be shared easily between members.  To read more about potential uses, click here.

However, not everyone is a fan of Google+ for educators.  ReadWriteWeb questioned whether Google+ is the tool that educators have been waiting for due to the privacy issues involved.  For more information check out the following related articles: 

 

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Top Links for Help with Deciphering Web Analytics

Sites like Alexa, Compete, Google Analytics and Quantcast can give some important data about website visitors.  If these were the only choices available, it might not be so difficult to choose the best tools for web analytics.  However, there are a lot of sites out there.  They may also have some techy jargon. Some terms that may be confusing to some who are trying to decipher the data include:

To explain the importance of the type of visitor, check out the article: Total or Unique Visitors:   What is the Difference? While many people focus on unique visitors, in an article titled Unique Visitors are not Everything, Jakob Nielson was quoted as saying, “Chasing higher unique-visitor counts will undermine your long-term positioning because you’ll design gimmicks rather than build features that bring people back and turn them into devotees and customers.”

To try and keep it all straight and pick the correct site based on individual needs, check out the following top 10 links with information about web analytics, explanations of popular tools and what they measure:

  1. Web Analytics Demystified – Unique visitors ONLY come in one size.
  2. Alexa Analytics Explained – Take a tour of Alexa’s analytics.
  3. Compete Analytics Explained – Where they get their data and PDF of methodology.
  4. Google Analytics Explained – FAQ for all Google Analytics issues.
  5. Quantcast Analytics Explained – FAQ for all Quantcast Analytic issues.
  6. Top 24 Web Analytics Software Packages – Top software packages explained.
  7. 11 Best Web Analytic Tools – Includes Google, Yahoo, Crazy Egg, Compete, and more.
  8. Alltop Web Analytic News – News about all analytic issues.
  9. Web Analytics Review – Side by side comparison of top web analytic tools.
  10. Yahoo! Analytics Explained – FAQ for all Yahoo! Analytics issues.

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Facebook Now Allows Subscriptions to Your Site

Facebook announced a new feature that will allow for people to expand their exposure on Facebook.  People can subscribe to your feed if you set it up for them to do so.  This is a useful tool for companies who have a profile but not a separate Facebook page to promote.  Without having a page set up, the profile site previously required an acceptance by the owner for people to view the content. 

With the new subscribe feature, all that has to be done to allow others to view the profile, is for the owner of the profile to look for the word subscriptions under their profile picture.  By clicking on that, they can enable others to see their updates.

 

This isn’t the only change announced by Facebook. According to TechCrunch, “In addition to Subscriptions, Facebook is also making it easier to tweak the amount and types of content that show up your News Feed. Now, when you’re viewing a user’s profile, you’ll be able to hit a button and choose from three subscription settings:

  • All updates: Everything your friend posts
  • Most updates: The amount you’d normally see
  • Important updates only: Just highlights, like a new job or move

You’ll also be able to choose what kinds of content you want to see (for example, you could opt to block all game-related updates from one of your friends, but keep their photo updates).”

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Twitter Analytics: Who is Viewing and Tweeting Your Tweets?

It can be a challenge to get good analytics on Twitter.  However, there are some sites that can give some helpful information. One of these sites is The Archivist.  “The Archivist is a service that lets you search Twitter for Tweets. Then you can create an archive, analyze, export and share the tweets.”  Once you are on the site, simply type in your Twitter name and hit start analysis.  It will come up with something like this:

This site allows the Twitter user to visualize data and information through graphic representations. Some of the most important things that The Archivists can provide about a Twitter account are:

 

  • Tweet Volume Over Time
  • Users Who Have Tweeted the Most About You
  • Top URLs Used
  • Most Frequently Used Words
  • Tweet vs. ReTweet Percentage
  • Source Where Users Tweet From Originally

For frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) about The Achivist, click here.

For more Twitter analytics and visualization tools, click here.

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What is a Backronym or Bacronym?

People often use the word acronym but what is a backronym?  First it may help to explain an acronym. An acronym is formed from initial letters of several words to make a specific word.  A good example would be how FAQ stands for Frequently Asked Questions. 

A backronym works backward. It is constructed so that an acronym can be formed into a specific word.  An example would be when Amber Hagerman was abducted, there was something created called an AMBER Alert.  In this case AMBER stands for America’s Missing:  Broadcast Emergency Response. 

There are some more recent examples commonly used in the news.  Reporters have been using the TEA in Tea Party to stand for Taxed Enough Already.  Some older commonly used examples of using backronyms include:

Golf:  Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden

Bing:  Because It’s Not Google

AIG:  Arrogance Ignorance and Greed

One of the longest ones I’ve heard was OLDSMOBILE – Old Ladies Driving Slowly Making Others Behind Increasingly Late Everyday.

For an extensive list of backronyms, click here to check out a Businessballs article.

Social Media Presence Able to Continue Virtually After Death

Adam Astrow stated some interesting social media statistics in his recent TED.com presentation titled After Your Final Status Update. His talk was about what happens to your social media presence after you die and whether it can be saved in a virtual personality.

He cited some pretty interesting numbers for how much data is being uploaded to Youtube, Twitter and Facebook and claimed that that data could possibly be used to create a presence after one has passed away. 

He pointed out that there are already some sites and apps that can create postings for people post-mortem. There is an “If I Die” app can that can create video to be posted on Facebook after one’s death.  There is a site called 1000 Memories that states, “1000memories is a free site that celebrates the lives of people who matter most – our friends and family, past and present. We help bring the albums, scrapbooks, and photo-filled shoeboxes of our lives out of the closet and into an online, shareable space where they can be remembered and celebrated, together in one place.”

Although one may have passed on, their lives can be remembered indefinitely through the use of technology.

Have a Laugh from Site that Compiles Past Tweets

There is a fun little site called That Can Be My Next Tweet. It pulls information from your Twitter account and calculates what your possible next Tweet could include based on what you have Tweeted in the past.  Every time you push the “get your next Tweet” button, it comes up with a new jumble of words combined from your past postings.  I put in drdianehamilton and the first three times I pushed the button, I got the following responses:

  1. You are emotionally intelligent? 3 Answers: Consumer Trends to Target its 90 Million From Russian?  
  2. Develop Socially You About Your Current Job Google and Psychological Bloggers and Business Review: How?
  3. Boomerang Generation: College Tuition Really Want This New Pew Is Your Current Job Google Using QR code!

It was fun for a few minutes.  I’m not sure it has lasting appeal, but it can be good for a few laughs. I put in a few personalities that can tend to be characters to see what their next Tweet might be.  Here is what it generated: 

Charlie Sheen:  Sloppy TunaGet you’re going to Colombia, it’s my page & ! KH & RH RT!! Anger Management ANGER & coke round.

Ashton Kutcher:  I’m a joke. retweet to keep spending millions to people sounds funnier than astronauts.

Kanye West:  Chilling with my stress and I just threw some bassoon on Yeezy’s and the right thing but I know Howie?

BrianWilson (the closing pitcher for the San Francisco Giants):  Charlie Sheen is why. The Tux. Made of the Wharf. you enjoy choking on today’s run, upon reaching the 1st!

To check out: That Can Be My Next Tweet, click here.

Best Apps for Students and Everyone Else

mobile apps

It can be hard to keep up with all of the apps out there. There are over 425,000 apps on Itunes now and that number grows daily.

In the article 48 Apps That College Students Love, they have listed some very important apps.  The apps are broken down the into the following categories:  Essential Tools, Education, Communication, Entertainment, Information Management, Organization, Budget, and News.

This article listed some of my own very favorite apps, including TED, which includes some of the greatest talks from TED.com.

There are also some fun ones like Rate My Professor. Check out Posting Teacher Reviews Online – What is Rate My Professor.

There are a few that I would like to add to the list, though, that I think are awesome apps:

HowStuffWorks – This app has all of their great podcasts including my favorite from Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant of Stuff You Should Know fame.

StitcherRadio – Great way to access multiple ratio stations and more.

GoogleCalendar –  Google’s Calendar is a great way to keep things organized. 

Words with Friends – I like this version better than Scrabble’s and it can connect to Facebook as well.

Increasing Motivation, Right vs. Left Brain, MBTI and Who Will Rule the World

Dan Pink, author of several books about motivation and left vs. right brain thinking, presented a very entertaining and informative talk at a TED.com conference called Dan Pink on the Surprising Science of Motivation. The premise of his presentation was that there is a mismatch between what science knows about, and what business does, in terms of motivating people. 

He made a strong argument for the importance of how having autonomy may help creativity.  A famous example he used is how Google allows employees to spend 20% of their time working on any project they want.  He noted how ½ of all products developed at Google are created during this time.  He argued for something he called ROWE which stands for Results Only Work Environment.  This is when people don’t have to have schedules, attend meetings or do anything specific other than to be sure that they get their work done.  By following these guidelines studies have shown it will increase productivity and reduce turnover. 

Two of Pink’s books include:  Drive . . . The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us; and A Whole New Mind . . .Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the World.  After looking through his book on “right-brainers”, I found a lot of what he had to say to be quite interesting.  He pointed out the importance of empathy which is a big part of emotional intelligence.  For my dissertation, I studied quite a bit about empathy and the part it plays in one’s emotional intelligence.  Researchers like Daniel Goleman, Ruevan Bar-On and others have shown that emotional intelligence can be developed.  In this respect, what Pink had to say is good news for everyone because we can all work on becoming more empathetic. 

The part of Pink’s information that may not be such good news for me and others like me is that he thinks that, as you can see from the title of his book, right-brainers will rule the world.  Before reading any further, you might want to take this right or left brain quiz to find out your type.  I’ll let you know that I received a 2 which means I am strongly left-brained.  Not much right-brained thinking going on here!

To define the difference between left and right-brained, think of it this way:  Left-brainers are sequential, logical and analytical.  Right-brainers are non-linear, intuitive and holistic. 

His theory supports that those with a high N or Intuitive personality type in the Myers-Briggs type indicator (MBTI) may be the ones who rule the world.  The N is the opposite of the S or Sensing personality who uses their senses rather than intuition in their processing of information.  In my training to become a qualified Myers Briggs instructor, I learned quite a bit about the differences between the personality types assigned by the MBTI. One of the main things researchers have found is that your MBTI results don’t change much over time.  It’s about preferences . . . .like whether you prefer to write with your right or your left hand. Think of the MBTI results as your preferences for how you obtain information and this won’t change.  So if you are an intuitive or an “N”, you will always be an intuitive and if you are a sensor or “S”, you will always be a sensor.  Some people may be very close to the middle of the scale between S and N and so their results won’t be as cut and dry as they may find their type changes slightly when they take the MBTI.   

Dichotomies
Extraversion (E) – (I) Introversion
Sensing (S) – (N) Intuition
Thinking (T) – (F) Feeling
Judgment (J) – (P) Perception

In our book, It’s Not You It’s Your Personality, Toni Rothpletz and I gave several examples of famous people with different MBTI results.  The qualities of the right-brainer, as described by Pink, fall very much into the category of the “N” or intuitive personality portion of the 4 letter type given by MBTI. What is interesting to me is that less than half of people have an “N” or intuitive personality type according to Myers-Briggs MBTI which is close to the about 50% figure experts say are right-brained. 

If our type is pretty much set in stone, then 50% of us aren’t going to rule the world!  I guess I am OK with that.  However, I do take solace in knowing that my MBTI personality type, ESTJ, accounts for l0-12% of the population and of that population some very big names also share that type including Sam Walton, creator of WalMart.  He may not have ruled the world, but he came pretty darn close.

Top Things You Should Know about Google Plus (Google+)

You may have started to receive emails announcing that you have been added by someone on Google+ and be confused by what that means.  First of all it is important to understand Google+.  SEOdesk includes a nice article explaining what is Google+.  This new system is not unlike the Facebook “Like” feature. 

The author of the SEOdesk article pointed out how Google’s new system works. “A small transparent plus one button will appear near your search results (log into your public Google account first), when you click on it, it should turn blue; this indicates that you have +1’d that particular link, it will appear on a new tab in your account which keeps a record of the various things online that you have +1’d (the plus one tab).” For a more detailed explanation, read the entire article

How can people add you to Google+?  First of all, people can find you to add through a search function.  See how to find people on Google+.  They can then invite people to be friends with them on Google+. How can you protect your information if you don’t want others to see it?  Check out: protecting your Google+ profile information. For more information check out:  guide to working with circles in Google+.   

If you receive a notification that someone has added you to Google+, it may include a statement like:  Don’t know this person? You don’t have to add them back (they’ll just see the stuff you share publicly). If you want to block someone, you can do so by following these instructions on blocking someone on Google+.

Are Women Making Teams Smarter?

Harvard Business Review recently published an article about how having women on a team makes the team smarter.  Although they didn’t find a correlation between the collective intelligence of the group and the IQ of individuals within that group, they did find that if women were in the group, the collective intelligence was higher. 

The Female Factor:  The chart plots the collective intelligence scores of the 192 teams in the study against the percentage of women those teams contained. The red bars indicate the range of scores in the group of teams at each level, and the blue circles, the average. Teams with more women tended to fall above the average; teams with more men tended to fall below it.

Professors Anita Wooley (Carnegie Mellon) and Thomas Malone (MIT) gave “subjects aged 18 to 60 standard intelligence tests and assigned them randomly to teams. Each team was asked to complete several tasks—including brainstorming, decision making, and visual puzzles—and to solve one complex problem. Teams were given intelligence scores based on their performance. Though the teams that had members with higher IQs didn’t earn much higher scores, those that had more women did.”

Finding the right mix of people on a team has been a consideration many organizations have dealt with in the past.  These researchers hope to see how this information can help teams perform better in the future through changing members or incentives. 

In the past, I taught teams how to get along better through the use of the Myers Briggs MBTI personality assessment instrument.  Through understanding personalities, team members could learn about each other’s preferences for how they like to obtain information. This became more useful to the team as a whole.  In my training experience, I found that even if a team had members with high IQ’s, they needed to understand why other members of the teams did the things they did and required the information they required in the format that fit their needs.  It was important to understand the collective needs of the team in order for the team to be successful. 

With the study by Wooley and Malone, they bring up the use of their findings in understanding collective intelligence.  According to Malone, “Families, companies, and cities all have collective intelligence. But as face-to-face groups get bigger, they’re less able to take advantage of their members. That suggests size could diminish group intelligence. But we suspect that technology may allow a group to get smarter as it goes from 10 people to 50 to 500 or even 5,000. Google’s harvesting of knowledge, Wikipedia’s high-quality product with almost no centralized control—these are just the beginning. What we’re starting to ask is, How can you increase the collective intelligence of companies, or countries, or the whole world?”

Value of Top Companies

The following is a list of the estimated value of some of the top companies in 2011.  They are listed in order of highest to lowest value.

Apple – TechCrunch recently reported that Apple’s value is now worth as much as Microsoft, HP and Dell combined.  Valued at over $300 billion, Apple continues to grow.  For more specifics, click here:  Apple Value

Microsoft – Recent estimates put Microsoft’s value at about $200 billion.  Skype – Microsoft’s recent purchase assessed Skype’s value at $8.5 billion.

GoogleGoogle’s value has been estimated to be $192 billion as of January, 2011.  For more specifics on this income including Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s net income, click here:  Google ValueYoutube – Recent estimates put Youtube’s value around $1.3 billion.  Google paid $1.6 billion for Youtube in 2006.

FacebookFacebook was valued at $82.9 billion in January and that number continues to grow.

Amazon – In January, it was reported that Facebook passed Amazon’s value.  Amazon still showed a $75.2 billion worth.  For more specifics, click here:  Amazon Value

HP – Recent estimates put HP’s value at about $72.8 billion.

Dell – Recent estimates put Dell’s value at about $29.3 billion.

Groupon – Recent estimates put Groupon’s Value at as much as $25 billion.

Twitter – It is suggested that Twitter’s value is around $7.7 billion.

Linkedin – Recent estimates put LinkedIn’s value at over $4 billion.

What to Know before Investing in IPOs like LinkedIn or Pandora

Is investing in an initial public offering (IPO) a good idea?  With the recent LinkedIn and Pandora IPOs and talk of future IPOs with Twitter and Facebook, this is a question that many investors may be considering.  Imagine getting in on the ground floor of a giant like Coca-Cola? It might have been a wild ride, but those that hung in there, had a nice payoff.  Joshua Kennon of About.com reported, “A single share of Coca-Cola purchased for $40 at the IPO in 1919, for example, crashed to $19 the following year. Yet, today, that one share, with dividends reinvested, is worth over $5 million.”

Kennon suggests that if you have the stomach for risking your investment, you might want to consider whether the company can grow at a rate high enough to justify its price, whether there are any patents or trademarks to protect the business, whether you’d want to hold onto this stock for 30 years and if it fell by 50% would you have the stomach to handle it?

DailyFinance reported some additional questions to ask before investing in an IPO: (1) Is there an attractive market for the product? (2) Does the company have a significant share of the market? (3) Is the company’s management team experienced? (4) Is the company growing and profitable?

The following list shows some more recent IPO original offering prices compared to their current price (as of July, 2011):

Google Initial Offering Price, 2004:  $85/share

Google Price July, 2011:  $530/share

Pandora Initial Offering Price, June, 2011:  $16/share

Pandora Price July, 2011:  $19/share

LinkedIn Initial Offering Price, May, 2011: $45/share

LinkedIn Price July, 2011:  $98/share

Many employees of companies like Google became wealthy overnight when their companies went IPO. The New York Times article Google’s IPO 5 Years Later stated, “When the offering finally happened, it turned an estimated 1,000 Google employees into millionaires, at least on paper. Since then, many more millionaires have been minted inside the Googleplex, the Web search company’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.”

Not all startups have been this successful.  Businesspundit lists the 25 Internet Startups that Bombed Miserably. MSMoney also warned, “Many investors fret they’ll miss the next big thing because they have no access to the IPO market, but study after study has proven that IPOs historically underperform the broader markets.” FIGuide echoed that same sentiment in their article Should You Invest in IPOs, stating that there might be better options.  “A seminal paper published in The Journal of Finance looked at IPOs from 1970 to 1990. During the five years after issuance, investors in these IPOs got average annual returns of only 5%.(1) By contrast, the overall stock market’s average annual return from 1970 to 1990 was more than double that figure, at 10.8%. To put this in perspective, $1,000 invested at 5% for 20 years would have generated $2,653, while $1,000 invested at 10.8% would have generated $7,777, almost three times as much.”

The following chart from triadsecurities.com shows the top U.S. IPO offerings.

Top 10 U.S. IPO Openings

Best

Worst

 

Reality of Being Seen Live on Facebook, Google+ and Facetime

Today Facebook announced its new integration with Skype that will allow video calling and group chatting. Zuckerberg is touting “ease of use” as one of the key benefits of this system. Facebook can now compete with Google+ and their video chat service named Hangout.

The question now becomes, do you really want to have the capability of having people see you? Recently I was having a conversation with my husband on my iPhone using Apple’s Facetime application. As my husband took his iPhone around the office and said, “say hello to so and so”, I realized that as I could see them, they could also see me in my jammies with no makeup, hair up on top of my head and wearing my reading glasses. It wasn’t glamorous.

Many people use these video calling services when they are at home. Do we really want to see what everyone looks like when they first wake up in the morning? As we start opening up our homes to people with our video capabilities, we may also be showcasing things that may be better left unseen. Think about the dirty dishes in the sink or the unmade bed. Now more people than ever will know everyone’s dirty little secrets.

Famous Entrepreneurs Who Hit it Big With Humble Beginnings

 

The movie The Social Network showcased Mark Zuckerberg’s ability to create an enormous business from seemingly nothing.  Not all entrepreneurs have been accepted to Harvard like Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates to hit it big. However, having the intelligence to get there doesn’t hurt.

I grew up next door to a very smart man who worked his way through a state college and started a little company with $5000.  That man was Leonard (Sam) Shoen who created U-Haul by asking gas station owners to let him rent trucks from their lots.  Amerco is now the parent of U-Haul and is a far cry from the corner gas station beginnings.

There are plenty of Leonard Shoen and Sam Walton stories out there.  Accountingdegree.com recently published a list of 10 big businesses that got started in a garage including: 

  1. Apple
  2. Google
  3. Mattel
  4. HP
  5. Amazon
  6. Disney
  7. Microsoft
  8. MagLite
  9. Yankee Candle Company
  10. Harley Davidson

For more detail regarding how each of these companies got started, you can click on each individual company or read the article by clicking here.

To see Steve Jobs’ Commencement Speech at Stanford explaining how he started Apple watch the following video:

 

Importance of Facebook Like Button: Millennials and Women Likely to Hop On

Businesses are increasing their presence on Facebook in hopes that users will pick the “Like” button about their company, product or service.  This is becoming today’s “word of mouth” through technology. 

A research brief from the Center for Media Research claims, “Apparently a consumer approval on social media trumps other messages when people want to show their support for local businesses. Leading ways that users show support are:

•75% of people tell their friends

•20% of people say they “Like” it on Facebook to show their support, compared with only 13% who write a review

•Millennials and women are even more likely to hop on Facebook

•40% of people under 35 “Like” a business; 49% in the 18-24 group, versus 18% who said they would write a review

•25% of women hit the “Like” button, versus 11% who write reviews”

This does not mean that Facebook will capture all business.  “The study also showed:

•52% of adults under 35 visit more than two websites before checking out a local business

•63% of respondents under 35 head to Google

•24% visit Facebook;

•21% look at reviews sites and

•17% clicked on the first link on the search results page

•8% of people said a deal is the number one thing that influences them to try a local business”

Google and Facebook April Fool’s Day Jokes

On April Fool’s Day the Internet is full of contributors trying to play on our gullibility.  Facebook has its share of people listing today as their birthday or reporting unusual updates.  The following is Google’s attempt at playing the game:

Google, Twitter and YouTube Helping Japanese Earthquake Survivors Find Loved Ones and Shelter

Google’s person find is an online tool dedicated to helping Japanese earthquake survivors find their loved ones.  This tool was developed after the 2010 earthquake in Chile and was used in the New Zealand earthquake as well. Bloomberg reported, “The Google Person Finder service, which collects information about people’s locations and their safety status, is intended to help users find out if their friends and families are safe,” Visit the Google Person Finder 2011 Earthquake site here.

Google reported, “Searching the Internet on sites such as Google, Twitter and their local variants has become more effective in finding loved ones than sifting through wreckage following Japan’s devastating tsunami.”

Youtube has also set up a channel to help victims communicate.  This channel contains messages to help survivors find shelters and others affected by the earthquake. 

Blog Overload: Who Has Time to Read it All?

 

There is no question that the blogosphere is growing.  According to webdesignerdepot “WordPress has statistics for both WordPress.com (15.1 million blogs and counting) and self-hosted WordPress installations (17.4 million active installations), which gives part of the picture. There are more than 10 million tumblogs on Tumblr. Blogger doesn’t offer any public statistics on how many blogs they host. Technorati is currently tracking more than 1.2 million blogs. And there are likely millions of other blogs out there hosted on other services like Movable Type, TypePad, Expression Engine, and other CMSs.”

There is no shortage of blog search engines to find blogs that contain information of interest. There are also lots of articles by sites like Forbes and others who occasionally list their idea of top blogging sites.  Google and Google News features can be incorporated into an iGoogle page, and can be another way to keep up with topics to follow. 

With all of this information out there, who has time to read it all?  Bloggers know it can be good form to make comments on others’ blogs.  However, finding the time to not only read these blogs but formulate insightful comments may be difficult. Even if people find a good blog to follow and subscribe to their RSS feed, as sites continue to be added to the feed, the feed reader may have more information than people have time to visit. 

There has been speculation about when blogging popularity will die down.  The latest discussion is whether Facebook will replace blogging and company websites.  Cnet reported, “Even if Facebook doesn’t somehow supplant lots of Web sites, though, there’s no denying the social network is becoming more important to marketing, and it’s adapting to the idea.

With technology constantly changing, people may find it difficult to keep up with it all.  To get an idea of just how many blogs and how much information is out there, check out the following graph:

 

Ever wondered how many blogs are there on internet?how big is the blogosphere‘. How much revenue is generated from blogs? what are the key demographics for the blogging publishers? and what are the languages used used online? This Infographics is an answer to these questions.
state_of_the_blogosphere
 

 

Google Adsense No Longer On Facebook

 

According to geek.com:  There are many advertising companies on the Internet all wanting to offer developers and website owners the opportunity to generate revenue from ads on their sites and services. By far and away the largest and most well-known is Google AdSense, which Google counts as its biggest revenue stream.

Until recently AdSense was allowed on Facebook, meaning any developer wanting to support a Facebook app with adverts could use Google. However, that is no longer the case, and AdSense has been effectively banned from the social network.

In order to be listed as an advertising provider on Facebook, companies has to sign up for the Facebook Platform Terms of Advertising Providers and agree to Facebook’s policies. The deadline for getting on to that list was February 28, and as of today AdSense is not on the list.

To read the complete story go to: geek.com

Is Facebook and Twitter Keeping You Out of College or Helping You Get In?

Employers often use Google or other online research sites to find out about prospective job applicants. If there is embarrassing or incriminating information out there, it may not just be prospective employers that find it. 

Universities are also performing online searches on prospective students. According to Latimes, “College admissions officials look up applicants on Facebook and Twitter, experts say. Details revealed through social media can make or break a good impression.”

Keep in mind, social media can be a way to have employers and universities find out good things about you as well.  In the Latimes article the editor of StudentAdvisor “suggests following the school’s Twitter feed or “liking” its Facebook fan page. Students also can post a video resume on YouTube or blog about volunteering efforts or other extracurricular activities and provide a link on their applications.”

For more information, check out the Online Reputation Guide

Online Reputation Guide for College-Bound Students

Google Using Cloud to Share Microsoft Files

Many networkers have found that Google Docs has been a great way to share information on Linkedin.  Now Google is adding some more useful ways to use Google Docs to share Microsoft documents.  WSJ.com reported, “Google plans to formally introduce the new Google tool, called Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office, later this week after releasing it to early testers in November. The company says it takes Office files, uploads them to Google’s servers and gives them a unique Web address so they and can be accessed through Google Docs from any Internet-connected device. The files can also be accessed from within Office.”

With this new service, files will be on the “cloud” and can be shared by multiple people.  This new Google Connect feature will only be available for Windows users.  The Inquirer reported, “Google’s Cloud Connect is a shrewd move, giving the firm the chance to present existing users of Microsoft Office with the benefits of its free, cloud based office suite. The firm admitted the move is intended to “help bring more people to the cloud” and this could be just the carrot needed to help users get off Microsoft’s software.”

For more about Google Docs and how to utilize their free service to import presentations into Linkedin, click here.

LinkedIn Advertising Effectiveness in Question When Majority of Members Don’t Visit Site

LinkedIn recently filed paperwork for their IPO.  Within their application, they noted, “… a substantial majority of our members do not visit our website on a monthly basis, and a substantial majority of our page views are generated by a minority of our members.” This brings up an important question about the effectiveness of advertising on Linkedin. 

LinkedIn boasts of having over 90 million members in over 200 countries as well as being the most extensive network for professionals.  This may be the case, but if their members are not logging into their site regularly, advertisers may see this as a big problem.  So far, ad revenue has not been a major contributor to their financial success.  According to bnet.com, “Ad revenue is 32 percent of Linkedin’s entire business. The bulk of its money comes from subscriptions and “hiring solutions” for recruiters.”

LinkedIn’s VP of Marketing Solutions, Steve Patrizi told ClickZ.com that they are developing their ad offerings.  When asked what type of advertisers are utilizing LinkedIn, Patrizi stated, “Our advertisers tend to be in industries like banking/finance, technology, travel but we’re also seeing automotive and education advertisers coming on board.”

Who is signing into LinkedIn? According to socialmediatoday.com, “more males (57%) are users and the distribution of the age groups reflects the working world.  Interestingly, while LinkedIn still has more users over 54 years old (15%), this is a 7% drop from the 1st quarter.  That is offset by an 8% jump of the 24-34 year old users in the last six months.”

Social Networking Could Leave You Open to Attack: How to Protect Yourself

As the popularity of networking sites grows, so does the opportunity for social networkers to experience problems.  There are some safeguards people can put into place to protect themselves. 

By now, obvious things like not mentioning you are going out of town, posting how much you make, or listing overly private information, have hopefully sunk in, teaching people to post more safely.  However, there are a lot of other less obvious mistakes that many social networkers make.  Before you post that picture on your Facebook that people can download and save for later, you might want to think about where it will end up in the long run. 

An article from Creston News Advisor has some safety recommendations including avoiding accepting pop-ups, not providing confidential personal data, restricting what you do on Wi-Fi, not auto-saving passwords, and checking out the privacy information on each social networking site.  For their complete list of safety tips, click here.

Google and Facebook Looking At Twitter: Could Twitter’s $10 Billion Buzz Value Lead to $100 Billion?

[TWITTER]

Facebook and Google are just some of the companies that are looking at the possibilities of acquiring Twitter. There is a lot of buzz and tweeting going on about the value of Twitter. WJS.com reported, “Discussions with at least some potential suitors have produced an estimated valuation of $8 billion to $10 billion. A Twitter spokesman declined to comment on its finances, valuations and interest by other companies. Google and Facebook also declined to comment.”

If Twitter is considering being acquired by either company, not only are they not admitting to it, but they are also working hard on building their team of executives. This makes it appear that they are working to build a strong independent company. There are reports that Twitter’s size could reach $100 billion.

Job Seekers: The Demand is in Apps so Consider Learning HTML5

This year will be about tablets and apps.  For those looking for a job right now, there are plenty of companies including Google who are looking for app experts. 

Apps are everywhere these days.  Look at iPhones, Androids, iPads and such and you’ll see plenty of little mobile programs that are the fasting growing thing out there.  Angry Birds and Cut the Rope are just a few of those fun little games that people are playing.  Not all apps are games.  Many are used for productivity. 

It has become a very competitive field out there with Google, Itunes, Facebook and other companies expanding in the area of apps.  The Wall Street Journal reported, “World-wide, revenue from mobile apps is expected to triple this year to $15.1 billion, including paid downloads and advertising revenue generated by free apps, according to research firm Gartner Inc. Besides the potential of making money directly from such creations, more and better apps can help devices powered by Google’s Android operating system continue to gain ground on Apple’s iPhones and iPads.”

[GOOGAPP]

Because of the popularity of apps, Google is taking this very seriously and is in the market to hire app experts.  For more about this, check out the Wall Street Journal article that reported,“Google executives in October said the company was on track to generate $1 billion a year in mobile-related revenue, though it declined to provide a breakdown of the revenue sources. Google, based in Mountain View, Calif., last week said it planned to hire more than 6,000 employees this year, and a spokesman said mobile would continue to be an important area for the company.”

The increase in jobs is great if people have the skills.  What is required to get a job creating apps?  The applicant must have strong HTML5 skills.  The number of job listings that include the words HTML5 or apps is increasing.  Tech. professionals looking for jobs may want to check out Dice.com.  This job board lists opportunities for people with high tech skills. 

[JOBSKILLS]

Top 10 Company Mission Statements

Image via n2growth.com

Companies often list their vision and their mission statements on their sites. The difference between a mission statement and a vision statement is that a mission statement focuses on a company’s present state while a vision statement focuses on a company’s future.  However, some companies tend to blend these statements.  The following are some of the top technology-based company mission statements:

Amazon:  Amazon’s vision is to be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.  (They list this as their mission as a combination mission/vision on their site).

Apple:  Apple is committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software and Internet offerings.

Dell:  Dell’s mission is to be the most successful computer company in the world at delivering the best customer experience in markets we serve. 

Facebook:  Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.

Google:  Google’s mission is to organize the world‘s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Microsoft:  Microsoft’s mission is to enable people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential.

Skype:  Skype’s mission is to be the fabric of real-time communication on the web.

Twitter:  Twitter lists its mission as “a work in progress” as it has yet to be fully developed.

Yahoo!:  Yahoo!’s mission is to be the most essential global Internet service for consumers and businesses

YouTube:  YouTube’s mission is to provide fast and easy video access and the ability to share videos frequently

IPhone Finally Available On Verizon

There have been plenty of rumors that Apple would finally make the iPhone available on Verizon.  Tuesday there will be an announcement that this is in fact going to occur.  There is no word as to when these devices will be in the stores.   Apple is strategically adding more partners to grow sales of the product.

It looks like a good year for Verizon who has already done well with their Google-powered phones.  Many Verizon users are loyal to their quality service. 

 

image via deadzones.com

Iphone has drawn many to AT&T, but there have been complaints about their service.  According to WSJ.com “IPhone users have long complained about dropped calls and poor service on AT&T’s network, even as the carrier boosted spending to improve coverage. A Consumer Reports survey last month ranked Verizon’s network as most reliable among the major carriers and AT&T’s as the worst.”

What kind of sales can be expected with the new iPhone relationship? Mobiledia.com reported, “Analysts at financial firm Pacific Crest believe that component orders and anecdotal evidence suggest that the launch of a CDMA iPhone at Verizon is “highly-likely” in March. They also estimate that Verizon will be able to sell approximately three million iPhones in the second quarter of 2011, offset by approximately 600,000 fewer iPhone sales at AT&T.”

Honeycomb: What is all the Buzz About? Can Google’s Xoom take on Apple’s Ipad as 2011 is Dubbed the Year of the Tablet

 

Motorola Xoom vs Apple iPad

 

Image  By Dan Sung

There is a lot of talk about the new Motorola Xoom Tablet.  This is the first device using Google’s next generation mobile operating system Android OS 3.0 Honeycomb.   Verizon Wireless together with Motorola Mobility officially announced their new release Android Honeycomb Tablet Motorola XOOM this week.  It will go on sale later in the first quarter in the U.S.

Pocket-lint.com did a nice job of explaining how the new Xoom compares to the iPad. To find out why they are describing it as sexier, check out the comparison by clicking here.

Facebook, Google and Bing: When Companies Become So Popular Their Names Are Used as Verbs

If a company has its name used as a verb, its popularity is undeniable but it may also be problematic.  Although Google is a company name, it is not unusual for it to be used as a verb, as in someone is going to “Google” something.   Google and Facebook are listed as verbs on Dictionary.com.  The official definition for the verb version of Facebook is “to search for (a person’s profile) on the Facebook website.”  In fact, there is actually a Facebook page titled When Did Facebook Become a Verb with an entry as early as 2006.   

In 2006, CNet announced that Google had officially become a verb.  Google was not the first to be used this way.  Think about Xerox.  It used to be common to say that something needed to be Xeroxed instead of copied.  However, having the company name used as a verb can have its consequences.  CNet reported, “Becoming synonymous with an invention may hold a certain amount of historic glory for a company, but ubiquitous use of the company’s name to describe something can make it harder to enforce a trademark. Bayer lost Aspirin as a U.S. trademark in 1921 after it was determined that the abbreviation for acetylsalicylic acid had become a generic term. The trademarks Band-Aid, Kleenex, Rollerblade and Xerox have had similar issues.”

Is Bing the next company name to become a verb?  Bing has a nice ring to it like Ping did recently.  Perhaps the use of the phrase “Ping Me” has been played out and Bing is too late. It may also become complicated when dealing with past, present and future tense as noted in the following from a New York Times article:

Facebook Adding $500 Million While MySpace Downsizes

Myspace led the way for companies like Facebook.  However, their pioneering efforts are fading.  WSJ.com reported, “Myspace is preparing to announce a dramatic downsizing.  The site could lay off between a third and a half of its roughly 1,100 employees.”  At the same time, “Facebook Inc. struck a deal with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and others to raise $500 million.  The agreement values Facebook at $50 billion.”

Myspace has been trying to hold on to their market share.  In October, they stuck an ad deal with Google.  However, that has generated far less revenue than anticipated.  According to WSJ.com, “Myspace had 54.4 million unique U.S. visitors in November, down 15% from a year ago.  By contrast, Facebook had 151.7 million unique U.S. visitors in November, up almost 50% from a year ago.”

[FACEBOOK]

image via online.wsj.com

Why is Facebook more popular than Myspace?  Many like the cleaner layout.  Facebook works on being ahead on functionality with more games and less advertising.  The interface on Facebook can be more appealing as well.  With Facebook’s recent format change, it is easier than ever to find out more about your friends and connections.  Facebook has stayed away from the customizing features that can sometimes make MySpace overly busy.  However, those that like to express their artistic side, may prefer MySpace for having that ability. 

What is in store for MySpace in 2011?  WSJ.com stated “News Corp. was open to all options for MySpace pending the results of the relaunch of the site.”  What is in store for Facebook in 2011?  “Facebook had been searching for an investment by a major financial institution that would provide a benchmark valuation for the company ahead of any public offering, which is still expected to happen in coming years.”

QR Code: Why You Should Be Using It to Promote You, Your Business and Products

qr code

 

QR Code or Quick Response Code is a two-dimension matrix code developed in the mid 90’s in Japan.  Businesses are drawn to it because it offers an improvement over barcodes.  Wisegeek explains, “QR Code contains data in both vertical and horizontal directions, whereas a bar code has only one direction of data, usually the vertical one. QR Code can also correspondingly hold more information. QR Code is easily digested by scanning equipment, and because it has potentially twice the amount of data as bar code, it can increase the effectiveness of such scanning. QR Code can handle alphanumeric character, symbol, binary, and other kinds of code. QR Code can hold up to 7,089 characters in a single symbol. ”

QR Code has become increasingly popular with the use of cell phones.  I recommend checking out an article by Searchengineland.com to see some video demonstrations.  A code can easily be generated on sites like Kaywa.com.  If you are wondering if search engines like Google will be able to recognize them, “If you add them to your website, the search engines will see that your pages have changed, and that you are updating pages. The search engine will see a new image and index it accordingly. At some point soon, the search engines will likely recognize QR codes and possibly index the content in them.”

There are several recommended uses for the QR Code but one that I found to be interesting was that you could add one to your business card.  People would then be able to scan your information directly into their cell phone contact database.

Some other recommended uses may be to add them to media ads.  This simple little code could communicate product, contact, offer, and event information as well as coupons and social media links.

Related Articles:

Google’s E-Book Store Takes Off Touting Ability to Read Any Book Anywhere

Yesterday was the opening of the Google e-book store.  This creates some serious competition for Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Apple.  Publishers are flocking to be included on their site. 

According to the New York Times, “More than 4,000 publishers, including large trade book companies like Random House, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan, have made books available for sale through Google, many at prices that are identical to those of other e-bookstores.”

Independent bookstores are even able to sign up to sell Google’s e-books on their websites.  According to the New York Times, “It is also an opportunity for independents to learn from past missteps. They were slow to build Web sites to sell books during the initial expansion of online retailing in the 1990s, a mistake that led their customers to turn to Amazon and its deeply discounted selection.”

Google’s site boosts of having over 3 million titles that are usable on just about every e-book device.  They are touting their site as the world’s largest library of e-books.

Thebookdesigner.com had an interesting article about Google’s e-book site.  One important thing they pointed out was “The Google eBookstore is completely cloud-driven. Rather than the Kindle or iBooks model of downloading your purchase to a device, the eBookstore is where your purchase lives. You surf there to read your book, whether you use your iPhone on the train, your iPad sitting out on the porch, or your PC while at your desk. And since the book itself is centrally located, it keeps your place each time you log on to read it.”

To find out more about the store, check out the following video.

 

Can Google’s New e-Book Store Knock out the Competition?

How do you decide which e-book to buy?  After all, there are Kindles, Nooks, iPads and now Google is planning their own e-book.  In fact, they are in the final stages of production. What is taking them so long?  In a recent WSJ.com article, Google product manager and director Scott Dougall said, “Because of the complexity of this project, we didn’t want to come out with something that wasn’t thorough.”  According to that same article, “Users will be able to buy books directly from Google or from multiple online retailers—including independent bookstores—and add them to an online library tied to a Google account. They will be able to access their Google accounts on most devices with a Web browser, including personal computers, smartphones and tablets.”

Currently Amazon controls 65% of that market. Forrester Research is predicting the market to be worth $966 million this year.  The first product to market may do well, but it doesn’t guarantee that they will stay number one. Sometimes it is better not to be first on the market.  Flydogdesign.com noted, “Apple is known by their strategy of not being the first. None of the Apple’s top sellers today were first in the market. iPod wasn’t the first mp3 player, iPhone wasn’t the first smartphone and iPad wasn’t the first tablet computer. Apple prefers being the best to being the first. And they make billions on that bet.”

Only time will tell if this strategy will also work well for Google.  They have done a nice job of catching up in the past.  Remember Yahoo? As of September, 2010, Google was used 90% of the time for searching the Internet. Yahoo was down to 4.4%. 

If their past performance is indicative of what is to come, Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, and Sony may have a tough race ahead of them.

image via techpinas.com
Related Articles

Have you Googled Yourself Lately? Why LinkedIn and Google are Important for Your Job Search

If you are looking for a job, you probably have looked at getting on LinkedIn and some other social networking sites.  If you have created a LinkedIn profile, it should show up on Google’s search engine. 

In some recent talks I gave to job-seekers, I asked my audience if they had Googled themselves.  Surprisingly, not as many people as you may think have done this.   In my book, How to Reinvent Your Career, I discuss the importance of Googling your name to see what it displays.   You can be sure that employers will do this.

It is nice that search engines like Google can help people find you.  One way to help improve being found is to be on LinkedIn.  There are other benefits to being on LinkedIn. According to a recent article in WSJ.com, “One of the least recognized aspects of LinkedIn, says founder Reid Hoffman, is the fact that it allows people to help other people.” I personally like the Q&A feature of LinkedIn for this reason.  Not only can you ask a question, but you can offer your expertise and help others. 

According to Hoffman, Linkedin is an important part of the career search.  I agree.  He also asked an important question: “There are millions of other people out there. What do you do to put yourself in the right place for people to find you?”

I often give advice for things you can do to be found.  LinkedIn is high on my list.  However, if you are interested in finding out more ways to be found, check out some of my career videos

How to Get a Job by Understanding  Emotional Intelligence

How to Get a Job by Utilizing a SWOT Analysis

How to Get a Job by Utilizing Camtasia and Powerpoint

How to Market Yourself by Using Social Media

What is Google Goggles? Visual Search Technology is Here

Google Goggles is a visual search engine for Android and iPhones.  It allows you to search by taking a photo.  It is as simple as opening Google Goggles and taking a picture of the thing you want to know more about. It has many uses.  One of those uses is to scan a business card in to find out more about the company or person and add their information easily to your contact list. You can take pictures of landmarks, famous buildings or artwork and Google Goggles can give you more information about them. Goggles also includes a language translator. Their video shows an example of taking a picture of a menu item that is in a foreign language and having it easily translated. They say it works well on a lot of things but no so well on food, cars, plants or animals. Right now it is available for Android and iPhone.

Yesterday Google announced an experiment they are doing with Buick, Disney, Diageo, T-Mobile and Delta Airlines. These companies have enabled their ads, posters and other media to be Googles-enabled. This means that you can take a picture of these items and they will be recognized by Google Goggles, allowing the user to go directly to the brand’s mobile destination. For more about this go to GoogleBlog at Blogspot.

How to Get a Job Showcasing Your Abilities Using Camtasia, Powerpoint and Youtube

In my presentation yesterday at the CareerConnectors.Net workshop, I presented several different examples of how to market “you” as the product in order to get a job. If you are interested in learning how to use Camtasia with Powerpoint to promote your abilities and showcase them on Youtube, check out the following video based on information in my book, How to Reinvent Your Career:  Make Money Doing What You Love.  I am definitely going to be looking for a new video recorder though as this one crunched the screen, making it and me more compressed and wide.  If anyone has a good recommendation for a video recorder, I’d like to hear about it. . .

New Email Program is the Big Secret that Facebook has Been Keeping … Dubbed Gmail Killer

 

image via blogs.bgsu.edu

Dubbed the Gmail killer, Facebook’s new email program is to launch on Monday.  There has been talk about a secret product from Facebook and this appears to be the secret.  As people are jumping from the AOL ship, Google, Yahoo and other email providers are concerned that Facebook could take away their business.

Find Out How Much Jobs Pay

imagevia sixapart.com
In a presentation I gave the other night, someone in the audience asked if there was any questions you should not ask in the job interview.  One thing that many career experts will tell you is not to bring up money.  How then, are you supposed to know if the job is something you even should be considering?  There is a way to get an idea of what you can expect in terms of pay from a specific company.  The site is SimplyHired.  I used to use Salary.com quite a bit when I worked in loans and underwriting.  What is nice about SimplyHired, though,  is that it gives some more specific information about individual companies. 
 
I thought I would put it to the test by looking  AstraZeneca.  I chose that company since I worked there for so many years and was curious about the accuracy of SimplyHired.  This is what they showed:

Average Astrazeneca Salaries in AZ

 

astrazeneca

$65,000    

Average Google Salaries in AZ

 

google

$52,000    

For GoDaddy:

Average Go Daddy Salaries in AZ

 

go daddy

$20,000    
 
For Insight:

Average Insight Salaries in AZ

 

insight

$64,000    

 

Google, Facebook, Zynga and Twitter Battle for Talented Employees

In an article in today’s WSJ.com, they discuss how there is a war going on within the top technology firms to attract the best employees. To read the full article, click here.   As noted in the picture below, Google has over 23,000 employees, Facebook 1700, Zynga 1250 and Twitter 300.  Note that percentage increase in employees is strongest for Twitter with a 203% increase, followed by Zynga with a 178% increase, then Facebook with a 70% increase and Google with a 19% increase since last year.

[GOOGHIREjp]
image via online.wsj.com

What is a Monopsony? How does it Relate to Companies like Wal-Mart, Microsoft and Google?

Many have heard the word monopoly but have you heard the word monopsony?  This word is becoming more commonly used.  A monopsony exists when there is a market dominated by a single buyer, giving power to set the price for whatever is being purchased.  If there is no competition, the buyer can pay less for what they are purchasing.  Demand all comes from this one source.  This would be the opposite from a monopoly where the monopoly is about supply; the monopsony is about demand.

Some examples that have been given of monopsonies include major employers in a small town, universal healthcare, and the post office. Some very popular companies such as Wal-Mart, Microsoft and Google have also been called monopsonies. 

Can a company be both monopoly and a monopsony?  In a white paper about Google, it is suggested that Google’s has a monopolistic hold on search advertising, but also may be considered a monopsony, by restraining digital commerce. Click here to find out more about Google and its stronghold in the technology market.   

Check Out:

Monopsony As the Dominant Market Structure of Web 2.o

Monopsony Employers

What is Blekko? Can the SlashTag Search Engine Compete With Google?

 

Blekko promises user-friendly search experience 

image via bigmouthmedia.com

 

Blekko has been in development since 2007, but it has only recently become available to the public. Blekko is a search engine that has its sights on Google’s business. To do this, they are focusing on what they can do differently.

The New York Times reported, “Rich Skrenta, Blekko’s co-founder and chief executive, says that since Google started, the Web has been overrun by unhelpful sites full of links and keywords that push them to the top of Google’s search results but offer little relevant information. Blekko aims to show search results from only useful, trustworthy sites.”

Out of curiosity, I ran Alexa web statistics on Blekko to see how they were doing. Over the last 30 days, their website traffic has increased 12.7%.  Alexa also had the following to report on Blekko, “Blekko.com’s three-month global Alexa traffic rank is 21,705. Search engines refer roughly 11% of visits to the site. The time spent in a typical visit to this site is about four minutes, with 43 seconds spent on each pageview. The site is located in the US. Compared with the overall internet population, Blekko.com appeals more to men; its audience also tends to consist of childless people earning over $60,000 who browse from work and school and have postgraduate educations.”

Blekko uses slashtags to help you get more accurate results. Some are calling Blekko the slashtag search engine because of it. If you are not familiar with slashtags, searchenglineland explains them: “Slashtags are a way that anyone can make a “vertical” search engine around any topic. For those not familiar with the term, a vertical search engine is one that lets you search in a specific area of interest, rather than across the “horizontal” spectrum of all interests. Google is a “horizontal” search engine that lets you search for anything. Google News, in contrast, lets you drill into one slice of interest, news content.”

Think of slashtags as something like this:  drdianehamilton/books.  By doing this search, it pulled up more specific information about my writing.  It can be helpful to make the search more specific.

Why the name Blekko?  Co-founder, Mr. Skrenta, used to refer to his personal computer in college by that name. 

For more information about Blekko, check out the following link from WJS.com.

If you would like to know what Blekko has to offer, check out the following video:

Find Everything Google Has to Offer on “Google New”

If you are interesting in learning more about all of the products Google offers, you need to check out Google New.  On this site, you can watch videos about all of their latest products.

What is Google zeitgeist? Searching for Trends and Popularity on the Internet

image via geeksmack.net

Google’s site defines zeitgeist “as, “zeit·geist | Pronunciation: ‘tsIt-“gIst, ‘zIt | Function: noun | Etymology: German, from Zeit (time) + Geist (spirit) | Date: 1884 | Meaning: the general intellectual, moral, and cultural climate of an era. “Zeitgeist” means “the spirit of the times”, and Google reveals this spirit through the aggregation of millions of search queries we receive every day. We have several tools that give insight into global, regional, past and present search trends. These tools are available for you to play with, explore, and learn from. Use them for everything from business research to trivia answers.”

If you click here, you can reach the Google zeitgeist site.  Once there, you have access to the following search site links:

Google Trends  

Website Trends 

Insights for Searches 

Hot Trends 

I tend to set up the Google news search function in iGoogle to find out about buzz words and things I am interested in at the time.  However, these sites can help you find out even more about what people really are searching for on the Internet.  I like the “insight for searches”  because you can create lists of specific words to find out popularity of topics in different regions.  Hot trends can also be helpful to give you an idea of what is popular throughout the day.

Google Search Tips: Using Google’s Lesser Known Functions for Research

With the popularity of Google, odds are you have probably tried using their search engine a time or two.  However, many people are unaware of how to refine their searches using Google’s lesser-known functions. 

  • To find information about a specific website, try inputting something like:  “info:drdianehamilton.com” – be sure you type in the parentheses.
  • Utilize the asterisk function.  For example:  “Facebook * millennials” will give you results with only those words.  If you just searched by “Facebook” and “millennials” you may have words between the two in your results.
  • Google does not recognize short words such as the, a, and, it . . . Nor is it case sensitive. However it does differentiate between singular and plural as i the case of “millennial” or “millennials”.

If you are interested in some other search-related tools offered by Google check out the following sites:

Email Attachment and Sending Limits for Google, Yahoo, AOL and a Lot More Providers

 

I use AOL a lot so I don’t run into file size limits very often as they allow up to 16 MB attachments.  However, I noticed that when I try to send files to some of my friends and family, they have difficulty receiving the larger files. I decided to do some research to see what other providers offer in terms of maximum file sending size.  Check out this article by altrue.com.  They do an excellent job of explaining the limits established by some of the top providers.

Major Internet Service Providers – Email sending limits

This article contains information about the email send limits (rate limit) of most important Internet Service Providers, as we collected it from our Easy Mail Merge customers, web resources or directly from the support desk of ISPs.  The information is intended as a guide only.  Your ISP can change its outbound email policy at any time without any prior notification.  It is always a good idea to contact your email account provider and ask about the email send rate, before proceeding with a mass email campaign.

This article was last updated in November 2007 and it displays the SMTP email send limit (or rate limit) for the following Internet providers: Verizon, Comcast, EarthLink, Cablevision/Optimum, Road Runner, Cox, AT&T Yahoo!, Charter, BellSouth.

Verizon Email Send & SMTP Limits
The following restrictions apply when sending emails from a verizon.net email account:

  • Verizon email send limit – no more than 100 recipients per email message AND max 500 emails (recipients) per hour
  • Verizon other SMTP limits – max 2mb per message
  • Verizon email-outbound policy – http://www2.verizon.net/policies/email.asp
  • Verizon SMTP restriction expiry method – the restriction is automatically lifted 24 hours after the email send limit was reached.

Comcast Email Send & SMTP Limits
Below you can find the Comcast email send or rate limit for Comcast high speed internet customers. Please note that Comcast can also block port 25 for your connection (triggering the error message: “Error #1: Port25.Secure(SSL); no Socket Error: 10053. Error Number 0x800CC0F”), in order to prevent you (or viruses on your computer) from sending emails using your own SMTP agent:

  • Comcast email send limit – no more than 1000 recipients per day
  • Comcast other SMTP limits – max 10mb per message
  • Comcast email-outbound policy – http://www.comcast.net/help/faq/index.jsp?faq=SecuritySpam17867
  • Comcast SMTP restriction expiry method – the restriction is automatically lifted 24 hours after the email send limit was reached.

EarthLink Email Send & SMTP Limits (“SMTP Rate Limiting”)
When you reached your EarthLink email send limit, you will receive the following error message from the EarthLink SMTP server: “error 554: www.earthlink.net/go/bulk – Outbound message limit exceeded”. The following restrictions apply when sending emails from an EarthLink internet connection:

  • EarthLink email send limit – max 1000 recipients per day
  • EarthLink other SMTP limits – N/A
  • EarthLink email-outbound policy – http://kb.earthlink.net/case.asp?article=85283
  • EarthLink SMTP restriction expiry method – A member of EarthLink ‘s Abuse team will investigate the circumstances that led to your SMTP privileges being suspended. If it is deemed that your use was legitimate, then your SMTP privileges will be reactivated within 24 hours.

Cablevision Email Send & SMTP Limits (Optimum – OOL)
Cablevision / Optimum does NOT allow customers to send emails using an email client program or SMTP mail server, unless the customer subscribed to “Optimum Online Boost” or “Optimum Online for Business”.

  • Cablevision/Optimum (OOL) email send limit – maximum 50 recipients at one time
  • Cablevision other SMTP limits – max 20mb per outgoing message
  • Cablevision/Optimum email-outbound policy – http://www.optimum.net/Article/Terms
  • Cablevision SMTP restriction expiry method – N/A.

Road Runner Email Send & SMTP Limits
If your account has reached the email send limit, you will receive the following error message: “ERROR:5.7.1:550 Outbound Mail Refused – YOUR_IP_ADDRESS”. The following restrictions apply when sending emails from a Road Runner internet connection:

  • Road Runner email send limit – max 1,000 recipients per day per IP
  • Road Runner other SMTP limits – max 5mb per message
  • Road Runner email-outbound policy – http://help.rr.com/HMSFaqs/e_outbound_email_policy.aspx
  • Road Runner SMTP restriction expiry method – the suspension is automatically lifted after 24 hours

Cox Email Send & SMTP Limits
Cox did not publish the official email send limit for Cox High Speed Internet subscribers. According to the Cox web site: “Specific email sending limits are not published because they vary from time to time depending on a variety of factors“. We strongly advise you to contact the Cox support department before sending out large amounts of emails.

AT&T Yahoo! Email Send & SMTP Limits
Please note that, according to the AT&T Yahoo! Membership Agreement, AT&T Yahoo! can assess a charge of $50.00 per day for unintentional violations or $500.00 per day for deliberate violations of their unsolicited email policy. The following restrictions apply when sending emails from an AT&T Yahoo! Internet/email connection:

  • AT&T Yahoo! email send limit – no more than 100 recipients per email message
  • AT&T Yahoo! other SMTP limits – max 20mb per message, max 50 file attachments
  • AT&T Yaho0! email-outbound policy – http://edit.client.yahoo.com/cspcommon/static?page=tos
  • AT&T Yahoo! SMTP restriction expiry method – penalty charges may apply

Charter Email Rate Limits
If you are a Charter Internet access residential customer and you receive the following error message when trying to send emails: “421 Connection Refused – Customer has exceeded the maximum number of messages allowed per hour”, it means your account SMTP access was temporarily blocked. The following restrictions apply when emailing from a Charter connection:

  • Charter email send limit – maximum 50 recipients / emails per hour
  • Charter other SMTP limits – max 10mb per message
  • Charter email-outbound policy – http://www.charter.com/Visitors/Policies.aspx?Policy=6
  • Charter SMTP restriction expiry method – wait an hour to send additional emails or brake up the recipients number into smaller groups.

BellSouth Email Send & Rate Limits
BellSouth does not publish a clear email send limit: “Sending mass, unsolicited e-mail by Service users is prohibited. BellSouth Internet Services reserves the right, in BellSouth’s sole discretion, to determine whether such email constitutes unsolicited messages or transmission. Sending large volumes of unsolicited e-mail to a single user, or group of users, commercial or otherwise, by Service users is prohibited.”.

  • BellSouth email send limit – BellSouth’s sole discretion
  • BellSouth other SMTP limits – max 10mb per message
  • BellSouth email-outbound policy – Acceptable Use Policies
  • BellSouth SMTP restriction expiry method – BellSouth Internet Services may immediately terminate any account which it determines, in its sole discretion, is transmitting or is otherwise connected with any ‘spam’ or other unsolicited bulk email. In addition, because damages are often difficult to quantify, if actual damages cannot be reasonably calculated then BellSouth Internet Services may seek liquidated damages of five dollars (US$5.00) for each piece of ‘spam’ or unsolicited bulk email transmitted from or otherwise connected with your account.

 


 

Web Email Account Providers – Email sending limits

Important note: This information is intended as a guide only.  Your email account provider can change its email policy at any time without any prior notification.  It is always a good idea to contact your email account provider and ask about the email send rate, before proceeding with a mass email campaign.
 

Google Gmail Email Send Rate Limit & Restrictions
The following restrictions apply when sending emails from a Google Gmail account:

  • Gmail email send limit – no more than 500 recipients per message for the Gmail web interface, or max 100 recipients if you are using an email client software.
  • Gmail other SMTP limits – outgoing messages sent via Google Gmail can not exceed 10Mb per email (including attachments)
  • Google Mail Policy – http://www.google.com/mail/help/program_policies.html
  • Google Mail SMTP restriction expiry method – the restriction is automatically removed within 24 hours after the limit was reached.

MSN Hotmail Email Send Rate Limit & Restrictions
The following restrictions apply when sending emails from a Hotmail account:

  • Hotmail email send limit – no more than 100 recipients per day.
  • Hotmail other SMTP limits – outgoing messages sent via Hotmail can not exceed 10Mb per email (including attachments)

Yahoo Mail – Email Send Rate Limits & Other Email Restrictions
The following restrictions apply when sending emails from a Yahoo Mail account:

  • Yahoo Mail email send limit – no more than 100 emails or recipients per hour
  • Yahoo Mail other SMTP limits – max 10Mb per message for the free Yahoo Mail Service, or 20Mb per message for Yahoo! Mail Plus
  • Yahoo! Anti-Spam Policy – http://docs.yahoo.com/info/guidelines/spam.html
  • Yahoo Mail SMTP restriction expiry method – N/A

Lycos Mail – Email Send Limits & Restrictions
The following restrictions apply when sending emails from a Lycos Mail account:

  • Lycos Mail email send limit – max 25 recipients per message and max 250 emails per day
  • Lycos Mail other SMTP limits – Lycos Mail does not have a limit to the attachment file size at this time.
  • Lycos Email Policy – http://info.lycos.com/legal/mail_terms.html

AOL Email Send (Rate) Limits
AOL imposes a rate limit on an AOL member when a member exceeds the acceptable number of email messages sent in a given time period. The following restrictions apply when sending emails from an AOL connection:

  • AOL email send limit – no more than 100 recipients per message or 500 recipients per connection
  • AOL other SMTP limits – max 16mb per message
  • AOL email-outbound policy – http://postmaster-us.info.aol.com/ipt/
  • AOL SMTP restriction expiry method – N/A

 

How does advertising with Yahoo differ from Google?

[YAHOO]

image via online.wsj.com

I saw the above chart today from eMarketer and it surprised me a bit.  I hear so much about Google adwords that I expected their income from ads to be higher.

How does advertising with Yahoo differ from Google?  I found an interesting comparison from mybesttradingwebhosting.com that showed some comparisons between advertising with each of the sites:

Yahoo! Advertising

Yahoo! Advertising gives its advertisers custom solutions to choose from that allow for brand building and response drives.

The more popular solution is the company’s sponsored search solution. This program allows advertisers to control the overall marketing cost by setting a daily budget. Advertisers can also set the amount they wish to pay each time an advertisement is clicked and payments are only made for those ads clicked upon. Additionally, advertisers can stop specific ads and completely close out their advertising account at any time, no questions asked.

The Yahoo sponsored search solution has a reach of over 2.3 billion potential clients and customers. To even further narrow an advertising customer base, advertisers can utilize the company’s geo-targeting feature – allowing for very specifically targeted marketing. Created ads can also be rotated to see which message garners the most traffic. In-depth reporting is part of the program and offers the ability for advertisers to see results in real-time.

Google AdWords

Google AdWords allows advertisers the ability to choose keywords related to their business or service and create ads based on these selections.

Just like its counterpart, Google AdWords allows for setting a specified budget and advertisers only pay for actual clicks on their ads rather than any set daily or monthly amount. Advertisements can be placed on hold or removed entirely when it is found that some ads are garnering more traffic and customers than other ads.

As one of the most used search engines, Google AdWords can offer an extremely large base of potential customers. For local businesses wishing to target a more specialized and specific audience, Google AdWords offers the ability to narrow advertising regions to a particular region, state or even city. Customers can be targeted to within 20 miles of a business’ front door. Additionally, ads can be set to show a business’ location when searchers are seeking data within Google.com and Google Maps.

Excerpt only – to read the rest of the article go to:  mybestratedwebhosting.com

Search Engine War: AOL, Google, Yahoo, and Bing

I use AOL and I am a big fan of Google.  If you use AOL, you may have noticed the search screen says:  AOL Search Enhanced by Google. 

AOL and Google have a continuing relationship that they have extended for another 5 years.  Part of that relationship includes: 

  1. Google provides AOL with additional features and enhancements to improve their search function.
  2. Google provides AOL with ad formats.
  3. AOL and Google work together to focus on mobile apps.
  4. This relationship allows AOL to have a content partnership with YouTube
  5. This relationship improves the international scope of AOL’s audience.

I was curious to see if there was a big difference between the results by searching within AOL vs. going to Google to search. AOL included a few local addresses at the beginning but otherwise the results were similar.

I have to admit I don’t use Yahoo and Bing very often.  I noticed when searching for my press releases, that Yahoo and Bing do not pick up the information nearly as well as Google and AOL do.  However, I am interested to see if their future relationship may change things.  Today’s Wall Street Journal had an article about how Bing and Yahoo were going to join forces.  Google may have some competition with that.  WSJ stated, “With the integration of Yahoo’s and Microsoft’s search businesses now well advanced—Yahoo searches are using Microsoft’s Bing engine and its search ads will increasingly go through Microsoft’s adCenter platform—the duo have a better chance to take on Google.”  Google is hardly hurting though, “Digital-marketing firm SearchIgnite estimates Google’s share of U.S. ad spending rose nearly two percentage points to 80.2% in the third quarter, with Yahoo dropping two points to 13.4%. Bing had 6.4%.”

The search engine war and capturing unique visitors continues to be big business.  Check out the following chart to see how the search engines and social networking sites compare in terms of revenue per unique visitors:

chart of the day, revenue per unique visitor, google, aol, twitter, facebook

Facebook’s Growth: More People Logging In, Catching Up To Google

In a recent Windows: The Official Magazine article, they noted that Facebook has 400,000 active users and the average user has 130 friends, 3 billion photos are shared every month, 60 million status updates are made every day, and the average user spends about 55 minutes a day on facebook. 

Gigaom.com had some interesting facts about how people prefer to log in. According to that article: Most website users still prefer logging in with a Google account, but Facebook is a close second, according to new data from Janrain, a Portland startup whose software plugin makes it easy for websites to offer multiple login methods. The company’s latest survey looked at statistics from more than 250,000 websites and services that use its software, and found that close to 40 percent of users prefer to sign in with a Google ID, while 24 percent chose to login with their Facebook profile. Yahoo came in third with 14 percent of sign-ins, while Twitter and Microsoft’s Windows Live were tied at 5 percent.

To read more from that article, click here.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

What is Google Checkout? How Does it Compare to PayPal?

 

image via s3.hubimg.com

According to their site, Google Checkout allows you to:

Stop creating multiple accounts and passwords. With Google Checkout™ you can quickly and easily buy from stores across the web and track all your orders and shipping in one place.

Shop with confidence. Our fraud protection policy covers you against unauthorized purchases made through Google Checkout, and we don’t share your purchase history or full credit card number with sellers.

Control commercial spam. You can keep your email address confidential, and easily turn off unwanted emails from stores where you use Google Checkout.

If you want to hear testimonials from Google Checkout customers, click here

Some of the things they are saying about Google Checkout is that it is:

  • Fast and Easy
  • Safe and Secure
  • Protects Personal Information
  • Helps Buyers Resolve Issues
  • Allowing Shopping With Confidence

If you would like to take a tour of or see a short video about Google Checkout, click here

Once you sign up, they offer a deals page where you can find discounts from many different stores.

How does Google Checkout compare to Paypal?

Check out this excerpt article from an article on bestshoppingcartreviews.com:

Basic overview of Google Checkout vs. PayPal

There are some areas that can be used to determine which payment processor is best for you. This is a comparison of how they stack up in Google Checkout vs. PayPal:

  • How customers can make payments. With Google Checkout, customers can only use the credit or debit card. It is possible for customers to store this information in order to avoid entering it every time. PayPal, on the other hand, allows for credit card payment or deduction from a bank account. eCheck capability is also available. In this way, PayPal is more diverse.
  • Rate merchant reliability. For many online shoppers, it is important to know that you are reputable. Both Google Checkout and PayPal rate merchants.
  • International shopping. PayPal has a definite edge in this area. Google Checkout is only available for U.S. purchases. PayPal, on the otherhand, is accepted in 55 countries. In addition to the U.S. dollar, PayPal also accepts the euro, the pound, the Canadian dollar, the yen and the Australian dollar. Currency exchange is also available (for a fee).
  • Security. Both Google Checkout and PayPal offer SSL security on the same level that banks do.
  • Fraud protection. PayPal only offers fraud protection for sales of more than $50. Google offers 100% refund, but you must report within 60 days. There have been complaints about PayPal’s payment resolution process as well.
  • Fees for accepting payments on your business Web site. Depending on the level of you account with PayPal, you pay 1.9 percent to 2.9 percent of your sales, and sometimes you pay 30 cents per transaction. Google Checkout is 2% of sales, plus 20 cents per transaction. However, with Google, you can use your AdWords account to reduce the cost of your transaction fees. This arrangement does not exist with PayPal.
  • Customer service. It is worth noting that PayPal offers a customer service line with live people (you can call a phone number). It can be difficult to contact Google Checkout customer service in any way besides the forum provided or email.

One of the main advantages that Google Checkout has is its integration with AdWords. This means that you can get preferred pricing on a number of services – and even automatically pay transaction fees with earnings from your AdWord account. Additionally, when your ad is displayed on other Web pages and in search engine results, a shopping cart icon appears so that it is easy to see that you accept Google Checkout, offering a possible way to increase sales.

With PayPal business merchant account, a great many of the advantages come in the fact that more people use PayPal, and that there is a range of services and features available that include invoicing, statements, shipping and tax calculations and customer options.

You should carefully consider your needs before deciding on whether or not to go with Google Checkout or PayPal. How you run your business, and the kinds of features and services you want should be factors in which payment processor you use.

Online Schools Using Skype, Tinychat, Video Conferencing, Wiki and Other Technologies

Recently one of the universities where I work sent me an email stating that they require that I have a Skype account.  I was curious to see if other schools were using Skype and did a little research.  I found an article which I found interesting from informationtechnologyschools.com.  In the article, they mention 10 ways to use Skype in the online classroom:

  1. Videoconferencing
  2. Tutoring
  3. Live Lectures
  4. Guest Lectures
  5. Global Projects
  6. Student Presentations
  7. Classroom Discussions
  8. Announcements
  9. Oral Examinations
  10. Virtual Field Trips

For the complete article, click here.

I can see that Skype would be extremely useful in synchronous classrooms.  Click here for another article about online learning using Skype from collegefinder.org.  I like that they are finding new and unusual technology uses for the classroom. Click here for an excellent article on 100 inspiring ways to use social media in the classroom from onlineuniversities.com.

I’ve seen that some schools are using TinychatPBworks.com claims, “Tinychat delivers dead simple video conferences without the extraneous ad-ons and inconvenience, making video conferencing an accessible, uncomplicated experience. It works on Windows, Mac and Linux; with Firefox, IE, Safari, and Chrome; and there is a version available for iPhones. You can have up to twelve people in a room with HQ video, protected by passwords and moderators, share your desktop with them, and your conferences can be recorded and embedded on your website.”  – Check out this tutorial on how to use Tinychat by clicking here.

When it comes to video conferencing, though, one of the advantages I see for online learning is that it can be completed in asynchronous format.  In other words, users can log on at any time of the day and not at a specific time.  As an instructor, I find this to be extremely helpful to me.  I do my best thinking at around 5:00 am and I doubt my students would want to log on for a lecture at that time.

Asynchronous video is still an excellent option for online courses. It may not have the interactive abilities that programs like Skype have, but it may also avoid some of the confusion and problems that come with understanding the technology as well.  There is also the blended learning option that some schools embrace.  Some schools have parts of the classes offered synchronously and parts asynchronously. 

There are tools for both types of learning.  There are advantages and disadvantages with both.  Chronical.com stated the following about synchronous online tools, “If using the “same time, different place” model of communication, some common barriers to implementation of synchronous tools are cost and bandwidth—not only cost and bandwidth on your end, as the individual teacher or the institution, but also to the students. This is especially true with conferencing systems; video/web conferencing requires equipment to deliver but also to receive. Although the benefits of real-time video conferencing are clear—it’s as near to a physical classroom environment as you can get—the software, hardware, and bandwidth necessary on both sides can be more cost-prohibitive than actually physically attending a class.”

That same article addressed asynchronous online tools, giving the following examples of technology that can be used in this asynchronous online setting:

  • Discussion boards: whether integrated into your online learning environment or not (such as Google Groups), well-managed discussion boards can produce incredibly rich conversations about topics at hand.
  • Blogs: my personal favorite, as not only are the students discussing with one another (and the instructor), but they’re learning something about writing for a wider audience whomay or may not be listening in.  The open nature of blogs also allows for communication between students in other classes at other institutions who are studying the same topics.  You might have to make “comments on blogs” count for a grade in order for some students to do it, but such is the nature of  the beast—those students probably wouldn’t talk in class, either.
  • Social Networking Site:  Facebook and Twitter can play important roles in your asynchronous communications strategy.  Facebook pages for a class can be the destination for up-to-date information about the course, without your students having to friend you (or even one another).  Twitter, and Twitter lists, can be useful sites of asynchronous discussion, although not in the threaded format that one is used to seeing in a discussion board setting.
  • E-mail/Listservs:  Some people consider mailing lists to be quaint relics of a previous technological age, but it’s hard to argue with the fact that they still work: an e-mail based discussion list does afford one the ability to carry on threaded discussions in a private environment, yet outside the confines of a managed system (for discussion boards).  In fact Google Groups (referenced above) is a threaded discussion board that can also take place via e-mail, putting a different twist on the typical concept of the listserv.

I personally often use my blog in my online classrooms.  I teach many courses where students are researching specific topics such as entrepreneurship, leadership, marketing, etc.  By adding links to my blog where I have written about many of these topics, it helps add content to the discussions.  I have not had students create their own blog as the above author mentions, although I like the idea, but I have taught classes using a wiki.

For those of you not familiar with what a wiki is, think of Wikipedia.  That is the ultimate wiki where information can be added to a site by multiple sources.  When classes are taught on a wiki, it is a bit more complicated as students need to write some code-like information.  It worked out well in the school where I taught it, because it was a technology-based school where students had more technology training.  One advantage of a wiki is for group-based projects.  In the course I taught, students were able to work together on one big project where they could all enter information onto the wiki.  The problem with any group project, wiki-based or not, is that you still have those students who do not participate as much as others.   

As with any technology, there will always be some obstacles to overcome.  However, I embrace technology and look forward to the next new product that helps increase student involvement and retention. For more information about online learning, check out my book:  The Online Student User’s Manual.

Are You Monitoring Your Online Reputation?

googled

Individuals and companies need to keep track of their online reputation. Do you know who is writing about you or your business? In my book, How to Reinvent Your Career, I mention the importance of having a clean reputation online in case employers do some research into your background. That is important for employees, but organizations must be sure their reputations are intact as well.

One bad comment out there can cause a lot of damage. It is not just negative comments that can hurt you. I have heard stories about companies who have had their information translated incorrectly in other countries which has led to their business looking badly. Don’t assume that something posted in another country can’t be translated back into English and hurt you here.

There are sites like PissedConsumer.com or Scam.com or other sites where your reputation can be ruined.

Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and others are very important to help spread your positive message. But be careful, because they can just as easily spread a negative one.

I like to use Google Alerts to set up searches to track who is posting things about me or my company. I think it can be very helpful and it is free. If your company is large though, it can be harder to track all of the keywords.

Another free option is Yext Rep. This site tracks mentions and reviews on sites like Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, Superpages and Foursquare.

If you are willing to pay a fee, Viralheat can monitor online conversations for a cost as little as $10/month.

Trackur is another option that many use. They offer powerful tools, you can be up, and running in 60 seconds with their service, monitoring keywords, tracking trends on the web, and discovering how influential your site really is. They have something called sentiment tracking that, “you can tag discovered items with a positive, negative, or neutral sentiment. Keep track of who’s saying positive things about you and who’s attacking your reputation.” The price for this starts as low as $18/month for their basic plan.

Visible Technologies is a good option if you need monitoring in different languages. They support 12 languages and allow employees to share reports. This comes at a cost of $500/month and up.

Radian6 allows you to manage your social media campaigns. It can be integrated with Salesforce.com, Webtrends and Omniture for $600/month and up.

Top Reasons Why Google Needs to Buy Twitter

In a recent article from BusinessInsider.com, Henry Blodget gives some compelling reasons as to why Google needs to buy Twitter. Here are just the highlights. For the complete article, click here.

* Apple, Google’s other nemesis, is now making its first push into the social networking business, and there is presumably more where that came from.

* Google’s attempts to break into the social business organically have utterly flopped.

* Google has ~$30 billion of cash rotting on its balance sheet earning nothing, and it piles up another ~$2 billion of new cash every QUARTER.

* Twitter is now large and self-sustaining enough that Google might be able to avoid screwing it up.

* Google has so much cash that it could buy the top 10 companies in the “Twitter ecosystem” tomorrow for peanuts.

* Twitter is now experimenting with revenue models, and Google CEO Eric Schmidt appears to believe that Twitter will coin money someday.

How much would it cost Google to buy Twitter? Probably $5 billion.

Top 15 Articles to Help with Confusion about How to Choose an e-Book Reader and Application

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am confused as to why there needs to be so many e-book devices and applications. How do you know which device to buy to be able to read the books you want to read? It can be even more confusing as there are more and more applications being created to allow access to books from each of these devices.

To help relieve some of the confusion, check out the top 15 articles explaining eBook devices and applications:

  1. 5 Fantastic Free iPhone reader apps http://mashable.com/2010/04/06/free-iphone-ebook-readers/
  2. Reading Books on the iPad: iBooks vs. Kindle: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2363078,00.asp
  3. How to download Kindle for your iPad: http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=kcp_ipad_mkt_lnd?docId=1000490441
  4. Kindle receives favorable reviews over iBook app: http://notratched.wordpress.com/2010/09/05/kindle-app-beats-ibooks-for-reading-on-ipad/
  5. Reviews of ebooks apps for Ipad: http://www.iphoneness.com/iphone-apps/8-best-e-book-reader-apps-for-ipad/
  6. Google Books has a large assortment of free books you can read right on your PC.  Check out:  http://books.google.com/
  7. Google Books competing with Apple and Kindle:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/may/05/google-ebook-store-launch
  8. Barnes and Noble free eReader application:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ebooks/index.asp
  9. Stanza for iPad http://ireaderreview.com/2010/06/04/reviewing-the-new-stanza-for-ipad-app/
  10. 50 Free Kindle books http://ireaderreview.com/2009/08/17/40-free-books-in-the-kindle-store/
  11. Kindle vs. Nook http://www.best-ereaders.com/2010/05/02/kindle-vs-nook-2010-ebook-reader-reviews/
  12.  iPad vs. Kindle http://www.pcworld.com/article/193242/apple_ipads_ibooks_vs_amazons_kindle.html
  13.  iBooks vs. Kindle for iPad http://waltshiel.com/2010/09/06/ibooks-vs-kindle-for-ipad/
  14.  Reasons why iPad won’t Kill Kindle http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/27/three-reasons-the-ipad-wont-kill-amazons-kindle/?src=twt&twt=nytimesbits
  15. iPad, Nook, Kindle or Sony http://www.suntimes.com/technology/ihnatko/2658254,ihnatko-kindle-ipad-nook-ereader-083110.article

“Google Me” is Probably Already Bigger Than Facebook | WebProNews

Is Google Me already bigger than Facebook?  Check out the complete article at WebProNews by clicking here.  Here are a few highlights from Chris Crum’s article: 

So let’s compare Google (as one big social network) to Facebook, feature by feature.

Facebook has the news feed. Google is reportedly working on the activity stream. Facebook has chat. Google does too (text, voice, and video). Facebook has photos. Google does too, with Picasa Web Albums and various other complementary photo-related offerings. Facebook has videos. Google has YouTube (and Google Video). Facebook has notes. Google has Blogger. Facebook has Pages. Google has Profiles.  Google has email. Facebook may at some point (MySpace just added it last year). Facebook has games. Google is working on getting more. Facebook has news publications setting up Pages. Google has Google News. Facebook has the Open Graph. Google has search (all kinds of search…and maps).

Facebook has Facebook Ads. Google has AdWords, AdSense, and Doubleclick. Facebook has applications. Google has Google Apps, the Apps Marketplace, Android, the Android Marketplace, Chrome, Chrome OS, the Chrome Web Store, Google TV which will support Android apps and web apps. Google is also trying to get a music service off the ground.  And let’s not forget Google Calendar and Google Reader – two very user-personalized products.

What is YouTube Instant?

Have you checked out YouTube Instant yet?  If you go to http://ytinstant.com/ and type in what you are looking for, it instantly pulls up a video based on your search words.  I put in drdianehamilton since that is what I use for most of my sites.  It worked really fast.  If I just put in Diane Hamilton, I got Diane Musho Hamilton’s information.  So it is important to know what you really want to search for before typing or you might get something else.

Helium.com described what YouTube Instant is all about.  The following is from Philip Lop’s recent article found by clicking here.

It’s a free utility that strips down the usual YouTube interface to simply provide a search bar, a single, central video display and five smaller displays below it to present the top five searches based on your input. As you enter text in the search bar, Youtube Instant identifies a best match and, after a short pause to confirm that you are happy with the match, plays the video in the central display. Beneath this, users are presented with a smaller version of the file that is being played with a simple play/pause function and then four other strong matches that you can opt to select and play in the central panel instead.

Youtube Instant has very little of the functionality offered by YouTube. Users can see neither the name of the file nor the user name of the individual that uploaded it. There is no display showing the progress of playback and, as such, you can’t skip backwards or forwards. You are unable to see the running time of the clip, nor are you presented with any information about whether the file is presented in high definition or not. There are no account-based features either, so you can’t, for example, log in to your existing You Tube account and add a file to your favourites.

What you are presented with, however, is a streamlined, neatly presented microcosm of the You Tube universe, which provides a simple and effective means of finding and playing a specific file. Like Google Instant, as soon as you start typing into the search bar, the utility looks for matches, and presents a file name to the right of the bar (in a distinctive and quite stylish script), which changes as you continue to type, predicting the best fit based on your input. It is virtually ‘instant’, as the name would suggest, and greatly reduces the time taken to find a file compared to the full version of YouTube.

Aside from the obvious achievement of the developer, and the gimmicky appeal of the product, it’s difficult to predict the longevity of Youtube Instant as it stands. Google Instant takes an existing product and enhances the user experience without losing any of the other functionality, whereas Youtube Instant offers one new functional away from the main site. As such, regular users will find this of limited appeal, particularly when they find a file that they like and then need to revert to the normal YouTube site to add it to a play list. The greater likelihood is that YouTube will eventually incorporate something similar into the parent site, which would effectively make Aboukhadijeh’s achievement redundant.

How to Look Amazing on Linkedin

I recently put together a talk I am going to be giving to a group of career-seekers based on my book How to Reinvent Your Career: Make Money Doing What You Love.  I found an article today that covers some of the suggestions I will be discussing in my presentation.  I recommend reading Greg Fry’s entire article, but here are the highlights of the article at Bloggertone.com.  He  gives more detail about the following 15 things to make you look more Amazing on LinkedIn in the actual article.  Check out these highlights then click the link below to see the entire article.

  1. Make sure your profile is 100% complete.
  2. Make sure you have a unique LinkedIn URL and add it to your business cards and email signature.
  3. Why not rename “My Company” to the name of your company
  4. Rearrange your Linkedin profile to stand out.
  5. Update your status once or twice per day.
  6. Always personalize your LinkedIn invitations.
  7. Convert as many business contacts on your offline database online to LinkedIn
  8. Build up a number of quality recommendations.
  9. Join and participate in relevant Groups.
  10. Demonstrate your capability by answering questions.
  11. Add slides or even video to your LinkedIn profile using Slide Share or Google Docs.
  12. Use the Events section to find relevant offline events.
  13. Demonstrate knowledge by recommending books.
  14. Drive traffic to your website by adding a Blog feed to your profile.
  15. Nothing in business will every beat face to face interaction. Make a conscious effort to meet influential connections off line.

via bloggertone.com – click here to read the full article with complete details.

What is Google Me?

ZDNET.com – Eric Schmidt has confirmed that we could be getting “Google Me” sometime this Fall. This Google Me service will introduce what Google calls “a social layer” into online search, video and Google Maps. The Wall Street Journal and Reuters quote Google CEO Eric Schmidt saying the company will integrate social networking elements to its services.

 
TechCrunch recently reported that Google Me is real and it is gunning for Facebook.  In that article Jason Kincaid reported:
  • This is not a rumor. This is a real project. There are a large number of people working on it. I am completely confident about this.
  • They realized that Buzz wasn’t enough and that they need to build out a full, first-class social network. They are modeling it off of Facebook.
  • Unlike previous attempts (before Buzz at least), this is a high-priority project within Google.
  • They had assumed that Facebook’s growth would slow as it grew, and that Facebook wouldn’t be able to have too much leverage over them, but then it just didn’t stop, and now they are really scared.

Are You Using Trailmeme?

According to ReadWriteWeb, “Social bookmarking sites like Delicious are useful for collecting bookmarks, but they don’t allow users to really draw connections and tell stories. That’s where curation-focused services like Pearltrees and Trailmeme come in. Trailmeme, which was incubated at Xerox and launches at DEMO this week, allows users to bookmark sites and then organize them in tidy diagrams, making it easy to highlight the relationship between different items and for readers to browse these links.” For complete article, click here.

According to the Trailmeme site, “Trailmeme is a new kind of Web publishing that you can use to create a trail of content on a specific topic that’s interesting to you. You can also read other peoples’ trails and walk them to keep up with any updates they make. The technology allows you to gather related content from the Web in one place, in an order or sequence that you think helps make sense of it all. Any number of pages can be collected, organized, and annotated in whatever way you think is best. Trails don’t need to go in a straight line, either. You can make a whole map of content from different sites, connecting web content in multiple and meaningful ways. Trailmeme is not the only place where this technology can be used. The Trailmeme for WordPress plugin allows you to create trails out of posts on your own self-hosted WordPress blog. This can help you reorganize your blog in a variety of ways, rather than just having reverse-chronological order as the organization.”

Are you Using Google Reader’s “Send To” Feature?

I use Google Reader to keep track of RSS feeds.  I like how it is easily incorporated into my iGoogle page.  I also like that you can now foward feeded articles to specific customizable sites, i.e., your blog.   Perhaps that is why I hadn’t really noticed the “send to” feature.  To set it up, follow these instructions from Google:

Google Reader’s “Send to” Feature

 

Google Reader added a new feature that lets you share posts in other services: Twitter, Facebook, Digg. The feature is opt-in, so you need to go to the settings page, click on the “Send to” tab and pick your favorite services.


After selecting an item, use the keyboard shortcut Shift+T to quickly open the “send to” menu. Google Reader opens a new tab when you choose one of the “send to” options and most of the necessary information it’s already pre-filled.


If your favorite service is not included in Google Reader’s list, you can add it from the settings page by clicking on “Create a custom link”. Here’s how to add a “send to” option for Google Bookmarks.

Name: Google Bookmarks
URL: http://www.google.com/bookmarks/mark?op=edit&output=popup&bkmk=${url}&title=${title}
Icon URL: http://www.google.com/favicon.ico

And here’s how to use AddToAny, a service that lets you select between many social sites.

Name: Add to Any
URL: http://www.addtoany.com/share_save?linkurl=${url}&linkname=${title}
Icon URL: http://www.addtoany.com/favicon.ico

Google Reader added two other options: you can now subscribe to sites added to your contacts’ profiles and mark as read items older than a day, a week or two weeks. The second option is useful if you have a lot of unread items and you only want to read the recent news. As you probably know, Google Reader automatically marks as read the items that are older than a month and this can’t be changed.

Innovators – Entrepreneurial Startup Spirit

The startup spirit

Innovation is easier for small organizations. Think of Apple computers and the Google search engine, both of which were founded in garages.Here are ways to re-create some of that garage entrepreneurial spirit in large organizations with “innovation communities.

Create space and time to innovate.
Set aside time for people to be free of daily responsibilities to brainstorm. Senior managers should set the agenda.

Get a broad variety of viewpoints.
Seek input from people in different functions, locations and ranks.

Create a conversation between key groups.
Keep meetings structured so they don’t become time-wasting “blue sky” chatter. Make sure participants aren’t in the same group with their bosses who have control over their salaries and promotions.

Participants should be pulled to join, not pushed.
They shouldn’t be forced to disclose their thoughts. Rewards are not recommended; because people often focus more on getting awards than on helping.

Outcomes have to be measured.
Otherwise, top managers will lose interest.

Keep the process going.
Even after the communities disband, participants may continue to exchange in ideas.

Source: JC Spender and Bruce Strong, Wall Street Journal

Top 5 Ways You Should Be Using Linkedin To Find A Job

 

  1.  Input a presentation from Google Docs to showcase your abilities. It is simple to create presentations in Google Docs that are very similar to a PowerPoint presentation.  There is an application you can add within Linkedin that allows you to access the Google Docs presentation.  When your contacts look at your profile page, they will be able to see your presentation.
  2. Use the Question and Answer section to either ask a question and get connected or answer a question and become an expert.  If you go to the “More” tab and pick Answers, you will find this section.  Then click on Career and Education.  You can look for topics that may help you with your career search, ask a question or answer one. Every time you answer a question and someone picks your answer as the best answer, you get one point toward being someone listed with expertise.  You will notice tabs for open questions, closed questions and experts.  Becoming an expert can help promote your skills to more people and open up more job options for you.
  3. Be sure you have combined your outgoing messages your post on your home page with Twitter.  There is a little box you need to check to be sure that any updates you post will not only get posted on Linkedin but also on your Twitter page.  If you do not have a Twitter page, it is easy to set up and free. Just go to Twitter.com.
  4. Import your WordPress blog into Linkedin.  Just as you were able to include Google Docs through adding an application, you can do the same for your blog.  In this way, people will be able to see your blog on your profile page. 
  5. Check out all of the extra add-on applications that are available including:  Polls, Google Presentation, Blog Link, Box-Net, Portfolio Display, SlideShare Presentations, SAP Community Bio, Company Buzz, My Travel, Reading List, Huddle Workspaces, Real Estate Pro, Tweets, Events, and Legal Updates.  If you have a lot of good multi-media to display, Portfolio Display would be a good addition. 

The InfoWorld Technology News Quiz

I teach a lot of tech-savvy students.   Infoworld has put together a pretty tough quiz.  How well do you know  all that is going on in top technology news?   Here is an example question:
 
1. Google’s had a busy seven days. Which of the following did the search/advertising giant not do?
To Take the Quiz  Go To:  infoworld.com

Are You Using Google Realtime?

IDG News Service — Google’s (GOOG) real-time search engine, which indexes and serves up status updates, messages and other public content from sites like Twitter and Facebook, now has its own Web address and contains new filtering capabilities.

Five Slick Search Engines You Should Know About

Google started incorporating real-time links into its results pages in December. However, in order to only specifically see this type of result, users have had to deliberately click on the filtering options labeled “latest” and “updates” in the result page’s left-hand column.

If a section labeled “Latest Updates” appears in the results page, users can also click on it and be taken to a page that only contains real-time results.

But now, this search engine, called Google Realtime, has its own Web page at http://www.google.com/realtime for users who are looking specifically for this type of search result, Google said Thursday

According to Google’ site you can:

Search faster
Get results directly on the new Realtime homepage
Refine results
Pinpoint results by location, time, and more
See entire conversations
Read full threads of conversations to get context about any topic

For more . . .See what Google Will Do That Twitter Won’t by clicking here.

Watch a video about how Google Realtime works by clicking here.

Are You Using AudioSwap on YouTube?

I have found audioswap to be a very convenient program that is offered on Youtube.  You can simply go to your uploaded presentation and pick the audioswap feature to upload music that is available on their site.  It avoids copyright issues and is convenient.  I like to pick the option of chosing music that is the same size file as the presentation.

I would like to see more options in music choices.  There aren’t a lot of presentation-style selections. 

For an example presentation that uses audioswap, click here.

How to Use Google Docs and Linkedin to Get a Job

I often write about different ways to obtain a job.  One of the best ways is through networking and having strong visibility.  A great tool that you can use to accomplish this is Linkedin’s ability to input from Google Docs.

If you don’t have a Google account, I recommend getting one.  It is free and easy to set up.  Go to Google Docs at https://docs.google.com/ to set up your presentation.  Your main page will look something like this.  I have presentations listed here but yours will be blank on the right when you first sign in.

You will need to create a new presentation by going to the create new drop down menu at the top left.  I recommend creating a presentation that highlights “you” and your abilities or accomplishments.  If you are trying to find a job, you need to create a presentation that makes people notice you and want to hire you.

Pick presentation and a window will open up that looks a lot like what you see when you want to create a PowerPoint presentation.

You will create your presentation here just as you would in Powerpoint by adding text and pictures.  When you are finished you will go to the share dropdown menu at the top right and the following window will be displayed.  This is where you can share your presentation by copying the link, or sharing directly into Facebook, Twitter, Gmail and Buzz

This is also where you will decide who can view your presentation.  To make changes, pick “change” to open up a new window.

To see what this actual presentation looks like in Google Docs, click here.

This will allow you to have your presentation viewable on the web.  Once you save this, you can go to Linkedin and be able to add the Google Docs application there.  On your profile page in Linkedin you will see an add applications picture that looks something like this:

Note that the featured app will change so it may show a different picture each time you sign on.  It should be located on the left side of your screen as you scroll down on your profile page. Once you click on the see all applications link at the bottom, it will pull up a list of applications they offer such as:

You will need to click on the Google Presentation icon and that will bring up the following

You will want to be sure that both boxes are checked at the bottom You will need to click on the link that tells you to go to the application where you will see the following:

Mine has a presentation already showing but yours will be blank until you add one.  To do this, you will pick create your presentation which you will do or you will already have done in Google Docs.  When you are finished be sure you pick the share this presentation with my connections link that will be in the lower right corner.

Once you are finished, your presentation will show up on your Linkedin profile page and will look something like this:

Not only will people find out more about you, they will also see that you are technologically savvy.  In today’s competitive job market, this is one more effective tool to use to stand out in the crowd.

Top 50 Online Buzz Words Explained

If you are considering taking an online college course and feel intimated by the terminology, here are 50 of the top buzz words and terminology you will hear in the online environment. If you are wondering what a rubric is . . . you are not alone.  I have alphabetized them to make definitions easier to find.  To find information like this plus a whole lot more, check out The Online Student’s User Manual by clicking here

1.     Accreditation – Quality of the education provided meets the U.S. Dept. of Education standards. There are nationally recognized agencies that the U.S. Dept. of Education recognizes that accredit universities.

2.     ACT – American College Testing Program – test given to high school students to measure education and ability to do well in college.

3.     APA Format – American Psychological Association Format is a guide for formatting students’ papers, including how margins, fonts, citations, etc. should look.

4.     Asynchronous – Not at the same time. In college courses, if a course is asynchronous it means that everybody does not have to participate at the same time.

5.     Attaching Files – When submitting assignments, attaching or uploading is similar to sending an email with an attachment or an uploaded file.

6.     Attendance – Usually a student is considered in attendance on any given day should they post anything to any area of the classroom to show they were there.

7.     Blackboard – Software that many schools use to access the classroom.

8.     Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence – Learners express themselves through movement.

9.    Chat Room – An area in the online classroom where students can talk about things as if they were in a hallway or relaxation area in a regular school. Topics must be clean but do not have to be related to the course.

10.   Critical thinking – According to the Foundation for Critical Thinking (2010), critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.

11.   Curriculum – Educational courses offered.

12.   Diploma Mill – A higher-education institution that gives diplomas based on less-than-quality education for a financial return.

13.   Discussion Board – Area in the online classroom where students post responses to questions posted by the professor.

14.   Doc Share – An area within the software program eCollege where students can upload their documents so that others within the course can see and respond to them.

15.   Dropbox – An area within the software program eCollege where students can upload their documents so that only the professor can see them.

16.    eCollege – An online learning software platform used by colleges.

17.    Emoticons – A group of characters used to convey intended tone, e.g. a smiley face.

18.    e-Portfolio – An electronic way to assemble a collection of work you have done, including writings, pictures, blogs, etc.

19.    Extension – In software, the extension is the part of the filename that comes after the period. For example, if a file is named “Sample.doc” then the extension is “.doc”.

20.    Feedback Area – An area in software platforms such as Blackboard where students can see input from the instructor as to how they are doing in the class.

21.    Font – The typeface that is chosen for a document.

22.    Forum – An area within certain software packages such as OLS, which is like a classroom or place that a student will go to find information.

23.    Grade Scale – Explanation for what percentages equivocate to certain grades. For example, 90% may be an A, 80% a B, and so on.

24.    Grant – A way to finance your education, unlike loans in the fact that they do not have to be paid back.

25.    Header – The area at the top of your paper where you might include details such as page numbers or other information about the assignment.

26.    Logical-Mathematical Intelligence – Prefers to think with logic, reasoning and numbers.

27.    MLA – Modern Language Association. A style of writing that schools may use. Most commonly, they use APA.

28.    Musical Intelligence – When music and hearing help with learning, a student is said to have musical intelligence.

29.    Naturalistic Intelligence – When being around outdoors, plants and animals helps with learning, a student is said to have naturalistic intelligence.

30.    Netiquette – Combination of “Internet” and “etiquette”, meaning how to behave properly and not be rude in the online environment.

31.    OLS – Online Learning System software offered by universities to allow students to access their online classes.

32.    Participation – Posting something of substance in a course, usually in response to discussion questions posted by the instructor. Unlike attendance, there must be quality to the posting.

33.    Peer-Reviewed – Peers of the writer of an article have reviewed the document.

34.    Plagiarism – Taking someone else’s work and trying to submit it as your own.

35.    Platform – Software that universities use for online courses to enable students to have access to classes.

36.    Retention – The ability to retain or remember things.

37.    Rubric – Rules for how one will be graded.

38.    SAT – Scholastic Aptitude Test given to high school students to assess intelligence and readiness for college.

39.    Search Engine – Software that searches the Internet for specific things. Examples include Google, Yahoo and Bing. Educational examples include ProQuest and EBSCOhost.

40.    SQ3R – Stands for Survey, Question, Read, Recite and Review. It is a process that students can use to study and have better retention.

41.    Syllabus – A summary of course requirements or expectations.

42.    Synchronous – Attending class at the same time as your fellow students and instructors. 

43.    Thread – A posting in class where students and the professor continue a conversation.

44.    TOEFL – Test of English as a Foreign Language – Test to evaluate English skills.

45.    TurnItIn – A software platform that colleges often use to test students’ papers for plagiarism.

46.    Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence – When spoken or written words help students learn better they are said to have verbal-linguistic intelligence.

47.   Virtual University – An online university.

48.   Visual-Spatial Intelligence – When pictures or visual aids help students learn better they are said to have visual-spatial intelligence.

49.    Wiki – A software platform that allows multiple users to input information.

50.    Wikipedia – An online encyclopedia site where students can go to discover basic information. It is important to note is that this is a good place to start looking for information, but not a good source to use when you start to cite references. Because it is a wiki (see definition for wiki), the information on it can be manipulated by numerous users, and therefore can be unreliable.

Network Neutrality Explained

Repost from Mobydisk:

Diane checks the internet. Her home page is Google, which is her favorite search engine. Today however, Diane’s system can’t connect to google.com. So she tries her next favorite search engine, MSN. msn.com seems to be working, but it is very slow. Diane has a DSL connection through her local phone company, Edison Telephone. Thinking there is a problem, she calls Edison Telephone’s tech support. They inform her that they have partnered with Yahoo as part of their “preferred portal program” so her connection to Yahoo should be twice as fast as it used to be. However, she will no longer be able to access Google, and other search engines such as msn.com and askjeeves.com will only be offered at a reduced speed. When Diane asks why this is, she is offered a $10 per month upgrade to Edison Telephone’s “universal” system which gives her full-speed access to any site on the web. As a bonus she can also stream podcasts to her iPod at high speed. When Diane points out that she was already able to stream audio just fine, they inform her that Apple has not paid for high speed access, so podcasts may skip or have lower quality.

Infuriated, Diane cancels her service and chooses to switch to another provider. Ooops! There is only one telephone company in her area, and the cable internet service provider also has a “preferred portal program” that does the same exact thing.

Does this sound silly? Until recently, this scenario was not possible. Telephone companies, internet service providers (ISPs), and transportation companies were defined as common carriers under U.S. law, which means that they must be neutral to whatever they carry. That means that UPS can’t prioritize packages sent by large companies or delay delivery to packages to smaller companies or individuals. It means that telephone companies can’t send higher-quality audio to customers who also use their cell-phone service. And internet service providers can’t insert ads into competitor’s web pages or slow-down data to competitor’s customers.

Now this is all at risk. DSL service providers are no longer “common carriers” and the FCC rules on network neutrality allow loopholes that the telecommunications companies want to exploit. No one ever intended companies to start breaking the internet into pieces. Be aware that this only affects the U.S. – everyone else will have free and clear internet access.

What is Network Neutrality?

Network Neutrality is the basic idea that anyone carrying network traffic must treat all the data the same. They should not filter, prioritize, or alter the content in ways that are not desired by the customer.

Network neutrality is fairly simple, but it has become a highly politicized issue since the telecoms have an opportunity to charge customers more for less. Fake grassroots efforts have been confusing the issue, making it difficult to see what network neutrality is, and what it is not.

What isnt Network Neutrality?

This is very important because there is significant misinformation on Network Neutrality.

  1. Network Neutrality is not new:The entire world currently has a neutral system in place today. The telecommunications companies want to change to a non-neutral system.
  2. Network Neutrality is not price fixing:Various articles have claimed that network neutrality involves fixing prices. This is not true.
  3. Network Neutrality is not regulation:Network Neutrality currently exists, and doesn’t require any special bodies to enforce, measure, or regulate it. There is no organization that checks to make sure there aren’t ads in your phone calls, or that call quality is the same. It just isn’t necessary.
  4. Network Neutrality has nothing to do with competition:Some phony grassroots organizations claim that the issue is neutrality -vs- competition. Competition is not affected by neutrality.
  5. Network Neutrality is not about a “tiered” network:Networks are already tiered. Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, etc. each pay more for their internet access than any individual person does.  They have special high-speed connections because they they serve so many more customers.
  6. Neutrality is not evil just because Microsoft supports it:Some articles point out specifically the Microsoft supports network neutrality as a way to draw people to emotionally conclude that neutrality is evil. Any company or individual that has a site on the internet is threatened if net neutrality is taken away.
  7. Network Neutrality has nothing to do with taxation:One organization hints that network neutrality involves some sort of taxation, which is not true.

Who do I trust?

Telecommunications companies do not want network neutrality. Neither do those companies that produce the telecom hardware. Both these groups stand to gain from eliminating network neutrality. On the other side of the issue is everyone else: consumers and corporations big and small. Anyone who has a web site wants the internet to remain neutral. The inventor of the world wide web, Professor Tim Burners-Lee, strongly supports network neutrality as summarized in this CNET news article.

Be aware that there are some organizations that try to get people to write to their representatives against net neutrality. They are creating fake grassroots campaigns to confuse people. But it is easy to see who is involved by looking at their list of supporters which includes every major telecom company in the United States. The site even sports a big “Say no to government regulation” slogan, even though network neutrality is not regulation. Another such organization is netcompetition.org which is run by a telecom lobbying group who states their mission is to “…exploit emerging opportunities…”

For accurate information, try some of the links below.

References

Examples

Network neutrality violations are happening today. For example, NextGenTel in Norway limited the bandwidth of the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation.

Confusion in the press

Even the press is very confused on network neutrality. Here are some examples of articles that fall for some of these myths:

Chicago Sun-Times

The Chicago Sun Times article on network neutrality makes some of the mistakes cited above. They believe that network neutrality might be a good thing, but that we don’t want government regulation unless absolutely necessary. They want to rely on the free market and wait until there are some real violations before imposing government regulation. They don’t want to stifle the telecom companies ability to provide higher speed access.

Their reasoning is logical, but the authors are misinformed. They have fallen for some of the network neutrality myths listed above.

  1. The mistaken belief that network neutrality is new and that network neutrality is a form of government regulation.

    “…but we don’t think the government should get involved until there is clear evidence that involvement is needed…”

The authors want to wait until network neutrality violations happen to confirm that the market cannot fix them before imposing the law. This would make sense except that we previously had network neutrality, and it was removed under pressure from telecoms who have publically announced plans for non-neutral features. The groundwork is already set, and violations have begun.

  • The mistaken belief that competition exists and can solve the problem.

    “…the market itself under existing laws, will provide the best solution to the problem…”

  • How many high-speed internet providers exist in most areas? Usually there are two: The local telecom company, and the local cable TV provider. Since both are arguing against network neutrality, there are no alternatives for people to switch to. Since there is no free market, the free market cannot solve the problem.

  • The mistaken belief that network neutrality is related to paying for higher speed access.

    “…If some companies, such as a seller of downloadable movies, want to pay an Internet provider more to guarantee speedier delivery, shouldn’t that be allowed?”

  • It certainly should, and this is allowable under network neutrality. But telecom companies want to eliminate network neutrality because they are not speeding-up internet movies, but slowing down everything else, then requiring customers to pay to speed them back up. The situation is similar to telecoms selling a service that blocks telephone solicitors, then selling the ability to get around those blocks back to the telecom solicitors.)

    With all of the talk about Net Neutrality in the news, I thought this site (Mobydisk.com) gave a pretty simple explanation. Also check out http://bit.ly/bIFgFv, the article titled How the FCC Bungling Led to Google-Verizon Net Neutrality Deal.

    Why I Recommend Using Google Calendar for My Students

    I personally have www.igoogle.com as my homepage.  I love everything Google right now.  I think that www.google.com/calendar is a great place for students to go to set up their calendars, plan their days and become organized for school.

    Google gives their 7 reasons to use them in their article you can access by clicking here.  Here are the main reasons why I think it is helpful to college students:

    • You can share your schedule with family or friends or just be able to access your information anywhere. This is nice if you go out of town, aren’t around your computer or if your computer should crash.
    • You can set up reminders so that it notifies you when you have to do something such as study or take a test, etc.
    • You can sync to other applications like Outlook or transfer information to your Iphone or Ipad, plus more.
    • It’s FREE
    • You can import events and contacts into it that you may have had in another program.  

    You will first need to create a free account.  You will want to start by reading their getting started guide by clicking here.

    I would also suggest you read the article about how to set up notifications so that you will never be late for submitting another assignment by clicking here

    If you have any more questions, you can find them in their forum by clicking here.

    For more helpful advice for students, click here.

    Death by Google? Web Giant Could Challenge Facebook- ABC News

    With the recent news of Google’s plans to create a social networking site that could rival Facebook, many people have wondered how any site could overthrow the social-media giant.

    Check out this link from ABC News. I am a big Google fan. However, taking on Facebook is a huge challenge. This will be an interesting thing to follow. . .

    Howstuffworks “How Google Voice Works”

    How Google Voice Works

    by Josh Briggs

    Browse the article How Google Voice Works

    Introduction to How Google Voice Works

    If you’ve ever caught a rerun of “The Little Rascals” or an old Looney Tunes cartoon, chances are you’re familiar with one of the most popular forms of communication ever known to man: the good old tin cans connected by a string. Kids used to make them all the time and attempt to talk to each other. OK, so maybe the tin can phone wasn’t a very useful method for communication. But it did foreshadow where our society was heading. And look where mobile communication is now.

    With the recent smartphone boom has come the integration of the Internet and e-mail with traditional voice communication. These handheld devices, like Apple’s iPhone and all the RIM BlackBerry and Android-based phones on the market, give people more ways to stay in touch and stay informed. As demands for organization and communication systems management evolve, inevitably we’ll see even more innovative products and services sprouting up. Meet Google Voice.

    Learn More

    Google Voice is a Web-based communication platform for linking multiple phones to a single phone number. And that’s just the beginning. After an exclusive introduction in early 2009, on the heels of the purchase of the phone management system GrandCentral in 2006, Google Voice was available by request or invitation only. After a year of working through the bugs, and slower-than-expected traction, it’s now available to everyone, for free. And it has the potential to change the way we communicate yet again. When you see what it has to offer, you can’t help being impressed. But remember, everything has drawbacks. Before we explain whether Google Voice suits you, let’s start by looking at the many features it offers.

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    Google Voice Functions and Features

    google voice screenshot
    HowStuffWorks.com screenshot
    Google Voice lets you control which features you use and how.

    Google Voice’s defining feature is the ability to use one phone number in place of all your existing ones. However, your Google Voice number doesn’t replace your other phone numbers. Think of it as an operator who routes your calls to all your phones for you. It works like this: You have a Google Voice phone number (of your choosing), which in theory, you hand out instead of your cell phone or work number. When someone calls that number, it’ll ring all of the phones you select. You can customize it, too. Let’s say you know you’re in your office during the same three-hour period each day. When you set the parameters for your work phone, you would set it up to ring only at your office during that time. Along those lines of thinking, you may choose to disable your home phone for that same period. It’s as simple as that. But that’s only part of what Google Voice can do.

    All of this is done through the Google Voice management site on the Internet. So, before you can dive into Google Voice’s cool features, you need to have a Google account. This is as simple as going to the Google Voice Web site and signing up for a free account.

    And while we’re on the subject of free, now is a great time to mention free short message service (SMS) texting capabilities. You can use the Google Voice Web site or download the Google Voice app to your non-Apple (we’ll get to that later) smartphone and text using your cell phone and Google Voice number. If someone sends you a message at your Google Voice number, it’ll forward the message to any mobile phone you have set up in your account. When you reply, it will appear to come from your Google Voice phone number.

    What’s more, you can then send these text messages to your e-mail account of choice. Which leads to another cool feature. Not only can you send and save text messages to e-mail, you can do the same thing with voicemails. Google Voice will transcribe voicemails into e-mail form. SMS management is more refined too. You store text messages then search for them much the way you would search for an old e-mail.

    When we said Google Voice acts like a switchboard operator, we weren’t kidding. You can set it to screen calls so when your phones ring, you hear a programmed voice informing you who’s calling. You can then listen in to the voicemail live and pick up if it’s someone you want to talk to. Along those lines, you can block numbers, too, including annoying telemarketers or stalker-type exes. On the flip side of that, you can change the automated greeting and even setup personal greetings for individual contact numbers.

    Google Voice has some other cool free features you would normally have to pay for. For one, you get a free directory service so no more paying to dial 411. Also, you can share voicemails via e-mail, record incoming calls and conduct conference calls. You can even set up call widgets on your home page for customers to call you through that channel, a feature that’s great for businesses.

    So these are the major features and the jest of what Google Voice can do for you. Now, how about we go through how to place calls in the next section?

    Using Google Voice

    Military Puts Google Voice Through its Paces
    When Google Voice finally went live in 2009, it was by invitation only. GrandCentral users were grandfathered in, but new users had to request an invitation then sit and wait. But Google made sure to take care of the people who take care of the United States in times of conflict. Google Voice extended an open invitation to military personnel and anyone with a valid “.mil” e-mail address was, to borrow military jargon, good to go. With Google Voice, a soldier stationed in Iraq could fetch voice messages via the Internet free of charge. Instead of waiting for handwritten letters sent via snail mail to deliver that personal feel of home, troops could hear them almost instantaneously thanks to Google Voice.

    Placing a call through Google Voice is simple. If you’re using the Google Voice app on an Android phone, you begin by choosing one of three options — use Google Voice for all calls, use it for only international calls or don’t use it at all. From there, you use the key pad or choose one of your contacts, just as you would with any phone, and the number you’re calling will display your Google Voice number. There isn’t much to it.

    Now if you want to use your Google Voice number from a landline or non-Android-based system, you go about it differently. One way to do it is by calling your Google Voice number then signing into your voicemail. Once you do that, you’ll be prompted with a few options, one of which is to place a call. Select this option, dial the number and your Google Voice number will be the one placing the call. Another way to do it is through the Web site or mobile site. When logged in, select the “quick call” field then chose the phone you wish to call from. You select the phone you wish to use (assuming you have more than one set up), and Google Voice will call you at that phone. Once you answer, the service connects you to the number you’re calling.

    Now let’s see how you can use it for business and maybe even save some money in the next section.

    Making Google Voice Work for You

    To Record or Not Record a Phone Call?
    Have you ever wished you recorded a phone conversation with someone after he or she guaranteed you something — only to bag out on that promise? You’re not alone. Just make sure that if you do, it’s legal. In the United States, though the federal government may disagree, most states have laws that proclaim it’s legal to record a phone call as long as one of the parties is aware. That means if you know what’s going on, it’s OK. In some states, like California, both parties need to be in the loop. So before you decide to use a recorded phone conversation as ammunition against a crooked real estate broker or whoever wronged you, be sure to find out if it’s legal.

    Google Voice is perhaps best suited for business professionals who have multiple phone lines and e-mail accounts to manage. Many of us have a home phone, cell phone and work phone (and maybe even a work cell phone), and at least one work and one personal e-mail address. With the way information flies around and the speed with which it can go stale, we live in an up-to-the minute, can’t-wait-’til-later society.

    Small businesses can truly benefit from using Google Voice. Consider the money a business can save by outfitting each employee with a Google Voice number. As it is, most small businesses use some sort of elaborate phone system. Not only does this entail high startup costs with expensive equipment purchases, each phone line adds to the overall cost of the phone bill, too. With Google Voice, employees would receive many of the features they’d get with a phone system. The one major concern small business need to take in account is their identity with established phone numbers. Unfortunately, Google Voice cannot port existing phone numbers. At least, not as of this writing. Also, the voicemail to e-mail transcribing we mentioned earlier probably isn’t adequate enough to use for business purposes. We’ll get more into that in the next section.

    In addition to GrandCentral users, Gizmo5 users were integrated with Google Voice after Google purchased the latter in 2009. Gizmo5 is a voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) communications network similar to Skype that once worked hand-in-hand with GrandCentral. So those who used Gizmo5 were able to set up their account with Google Voice without any major hurdles to overcome.

    Google Voice can eliminate costly features on your existing phone service and in some cases, replace elaborate phone systems if you’re willing to take time setting it up and learning how to optimize its features. Sounds perfect, right? But before you ditch every phone service or system you have, make sure to read about some of the snags you may face in the next section, just to make sure it’s something you’ll be comfortable using.

    Google Voice Problems

    Google Voice mobile Web site
    HowStuffWorks.com screenshot
    To use Google Voice without the dedicated application, you’ll have to visit the mobile Web site.

    Not every smartphone has a native application to use with Google’s VOIP service. Google Voice and the iPhone don’t get along seamlessly. Neither do Palm or Windows Mobile devices. In fact, the only two smartphone systems that have native applications are Google Android and Blackberry. Users running iOS, Palm webOS , Windows and others, need to use Google’s Web version of the service.

    Google created an application for the iPhone, but Apple pulled it out of its App Store, prompting the FCC to send a letter of inquiry to the Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant. Instead, iPhone and other smartphone users are forced to go through the Web-based version. Using the Web app means you can’t sync your contacts list. This may be nitpicking though, because importing a contact list from other non-Google platforms such as Microsoft Outlook or Yahoo Mail isn’t easy either. Also, text messaging is limited. You won’t be able to send text messages to more than one recipient at a time. Forget about international texting, too. It isn’t supported yet. But that’s the case for Android users, too.

    Perhaps one of Google Voice’s coolest features is also currently among its weakest. The transcription service can give you some less-than-literal translations. Voicemails may or may not come through perfectly when transcribed to text. For this reason, you may want to wait until Google perfects it before relying on it for business purposes — or asking someone on a date, for that matter. “I hope to see you soon” may come through as “I love your friend June.” Ouch.

    When we said Google Voice is free, we weren’t lying. There’s no charge for the basic service. There are some features that’ll cost you a small fee, however. For one, you can call long distance through the United States and Canada for free, but you’ll be charged for international calling. Some of the enhanced features that work with Google Chrome, for instance, also come with a fee.

    Google Voice Competitors
    Google Voice isn’t the only virtual phone and communications management system out there. Similar systems like Rabbit and 3jam give you options to consider.

    When it comes to recording calls, you can only do so for incoming calls. So if you’re a journalist and hope to utilize this feature, you’ll need to have that person call you. One more thing you should know: If you don’t live in the United States, as of the time of this writing, you can’t use Google Voice. You must have a U.S. phone number, which, until recently, didn’t include Alaska and Hawaii. But now all 50 states can use the service.

    I am a huge fan of the howstuffworks.com page . . . I have been thinking about trying Google Voice. Josh Briggs does a nice job of explaining how it all works.