Rumored: Facebook Web-Mail App
Rumors have been flying across the internet today about a web-mail app Facebook is secretly developing. Jason Kincaid from TechCrunch reported back in February that Facebook was preparing a web-based email service to compete with Gmail. Kincaid speculated again today on the blog that Facebook will announce the service at a special event on Monday in San Francisco. Kincaid makes a interesting comment in his post that a Facebook based web-mail could explain Google and Facebook’s recent dispute over contact information.
Google Renames ‘Sponsored Links’
Google renamed their ‘Sponsored Links’ to ‘Ads’ this week. The switch has led many to wonder how the seemingly inconsequential rewording could affect user behavior. Check out Alec Green’s article “Google Changes ‘Sponsored Links’ to ‘Ads’- Watch Your Click Through Rates” for an industry perspective on how the change might impact search marketers.
Facebook Finds a Loophole in Google Contact Dispute
Last week Google reworded their Terms of Service to prohibit Facebook from accessing their Contacts API. This meant that Facebook users could no longer upload their contacts into Facebook from their Google accounts. This week Facebook found a way to hack into Google contacts, by giving users a direct deep link into a feature on Google that allows users to download their own data. A spokesman from Google offered a comment to Wired.com stating, “We’re disappointed that Facebook didn’t invest their time in making it possible for their users to get their contacts out of Facebook. As passionate believers that people should be able to control the data they create, we will continue to allow our users to export their Google contacts.” Maybe next week Google will have blocked Facebook’s hack and the cat-and-mouse game between two internet giants will continue.
Google Introduces Product Listing Ads
Google introduced a new ad format this week called Product Listing Ads, which enable users to preview a site, before clicking on a link. According to Google’s corporate blog, “With Product Ads, users can see the exact products you offer before they even reach your site, which leads to more clicks, higher quality leads, and higher ROI for your search ads.”
Claire Cain Miller from the NYTimes Technology Blog notes that the change could reflect Google’s increasing interest in comparison shopping. She writes, “The ads make the most sense for e-commerce sites, and correspond with Google’s increasing push into comparison shopping on the search engine. Frequent online shoppers and Google users will have noticed that when they search for a product, Google shows images of the product and prices for a variety of sites in the search results.”
Google Rolls Out Instant Previews
On Monday, Google unveiled Instant Previews, where searchers can click on a small magnifying glass to see a snapshot of the destination URL. Almost immediately, Google was showered with complaints from irate marketers and webmasters not thrilled to have their beautifully-designed sites appear as black boxes and puzzle piece icons on the Google results page. According to Patrick Stafford at SmartCompany, Google’s engineers are working on a fix.
Twitter and Ping
Twitter announced their integration with Apple’s iTunes based music social network Ping today. A few hours ago, they released a video that demonstrates how the integration will make Twitter a better place to discover and share music with your network.