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The Week We Searched For- September 23, 2011

Google Plus is now open to all users- Gone are the days of having to ask around on blogs for a Google Plus invitation, the social networking service is officially in beta and open to the public [1]. (Head to https://plus.google.com/ [2] for an account.) Yesterday, Ancestry.com founder Paul Allen published new statistics on Google Plus growth based on users surnames, which claim a 30 percent increase in users in the last days. [3] According to a post from Allen [3] on Google+:

In the past couple of days, since Google opened its doors to the general public over age 18, the growth rate has skyrocketed to rates we only saw during the first week of its “field test” — back when it had a small number of users to begin with, the growth rates were of course much higher. But when I checked the data this morning, it is clear that Google+ is absolutely exploding — 30% growth in just 2 days and with a base of nearly 30 million members already.

Google: Mobile website optimization now factors into mobile search ads quality- Google announced [4] plans to include mobile website optimization as a new factor for campaigns driving mobile search traffic. According to Google’s announcement, “As a result of this change, ads that have mobile optimized landing pages will perform better in AdWords — they will generally drive more mobile traffic at a lower cost.”

Facebook unveils several new features- At Facebook’s F8 conference, Mark Zuckerberg announced [5] several new exciting features, aimed at making Facebook a more dynamic place to interact with your social community and the web at large—and of course keep up with the momentum of Google Plus. One of the biggest announcements was the new Facebook Timeline, which is being called the “foundational narrative timeline.” Facebook’s Timeline will enable users to curate the mass of social activity they have accumulated over the past seven years on Facebook to tell a better, more dynamic story.  Facebook also introduced a new beta version of the Open Graph Protocol, unveiled partnerships with Spotify and Netflix and introduced new organizational changes to the site. For more, check out the following blogs-

PayPal to introduce more offline features- PayPal announced [8] a new feature last week that will enable customers to make purchase through PayPal using their smartphones. PayPal President Scott Thompson explained in a blog post announcing the new feature that PayPal is taking a different approach to mobile shopping. Rather than adopting NFC, like Google and others, PayPal’s system will allow mobile customers to scan product codes and then verify payments from their mobile device. Thompson explains in his post, “The act of paying for something should be as seamless as your decision to buy it. The future is about creating real consumer choice, flexibility and control over how people shop and pay. And with PayPal, the future of money is already happening.”

+1 button coming to display ads- Google announced [9] on Tuesday the introduction of the +1 button to the Google Display Network. Starting next month, advertisers will be able to integrate the Google +1 button into their mobile and desktop display ads. The announcement represents exciting new marketing possibilities in social sharing. As Google’s Eider Oliveira, Senior Software Engineer, explains [9],

For the first time, you’ll be able to run social-enabled ad campaigns that work across millions of sites in over 40 countries around the world.

If you’re running display ads through the Google Display Network you may begin seeing the +1 button and personal annotations [10] with your ads. With a single click, people can recommend the ad’s landing page to their friends and contacts. Incorporating personal recommendations into display ads has the potential to change the way people view advertising. A display ad becomes much more powerful when people can see which of their friends and contacts have chosen to endorse it.

Google unveils Google Wallet- Google launched its mobile payment service, Google Wallet [11], on Monday with Citi, MasterCard, Sprint and First Data. Google Wallet allows consumers to pay directly from their smartphone with a Citi MasterCard credit card or a Google Prepaid Card, which can be loaded using any existing credit card. The service works through the ‘Wallet’ app, and near field communication technology (NFC), which stores user credit card information, allowing consumers to simply tap their phone on wireless readers like MasterCard’s Paypass to complete purchases.

Google introduces flight search- Last week Google released [12] its new Flight Search service, which allows users to search for available flight routes and compare prices. The service leverages the flight search technology of ITA Software, the company Google acquired [13] in April. The service is currently limited to U.S. domestic flights.

Google working on social news magazine app (RUMOR)- Rumor has it that Google is working on new social news app for iPad and android services. Robert Scoble, a blogger, leaked the story [14] last week on Google+, stating, “I heard from someone working with Google that Google is working on a Flipboard competitor for both Android and iPad. My source says that the versions he’s seen so far are mind-blowing good. It sure sounds like Google is storing up quite a few social announcements. I wonder if they are waiting for Facebook to make its announcements next week and then will open the door to a raft of new things? I hope so.” AllThingsD later reported that the new service is called Propeller [15].




About Camille Canon

Outside of summer jobs and not-for-profit internships, The Search Agency is my first official place of employment. I recently graduated from Mount Holyoke College, where I studied Art History and German. I am an avid cook, baker, and destroyer of diets. My specialties are cream cheese brownies, biscotti cookies and lemon bars. I am also an Art enthusiast. Living in Berlin enables me to follow a young, emerging Art scene complete with “eccentric” performance pieces and temporarily converted butcher shop galleries. I also enjoy running, traveling, and handy work. Camille Canon + [20]