Business Technology
By Adam Yakish
Adam Yakish is the Director of Technology at Myriad-Core, an Erie based Web Technology Company. Adam is Google Analytics, Google AdWords, and Yahoo search certified. He is a member of the Search Engine Marketers Professional Organization (SEMPO), under which he sits on the Emerging Technologies Committee (ETC), and the National Mobile Task Force. He has spoken at the annual Hampton Roads Business Summit, and The Internet Marketing Foundations Conference, in Pennsylvania.   Read more about this blog.
Posted: May 11th, 2011

Yesterday, Google announced a cloud-based music service called “Music Beta by Google.” The service will be available by invitation only beginning today; the beta is free. Google claims that the service will allow users to upload up to 2,000 songs to their cloud, “tech talk for storing data on remote servers.” Watch the video below to learn more, or to request an invite from Google for the beta, click here.

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Posted in: Google
Posted: May 10th, 2011

This morning, the Wall Street Journal reported that Microsoft is in talks to buy Internet phone company Skype Technologies SA for between $7 billion and $8 billion. The Journal describes the deal as “the most aggressive move yet by Microsoft to play in the increasingly-converged worlds of communication, information, and entertainment.” If the deal goes through, it would rank as the largest acquisition in the Microsoft’s 36 year history.

Skype was founded in 2003 by Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis. eBay Inc. purchased the company in 2005 for $2.6 billion in cash and stock. In 2009, ebay sold a 70% stake in Skype to a group of technology investors including Silver Lake Partners, venture capital firms Index Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz, and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

In the eight years Skype has been operating, the company remains to produce solid profits. In 2010, the company posted $860 million in revenue and $264 million in operating profits, but still had a loss of $7 million. As of December 31, 2010, the company had long-term debt totaling $686 million. The deal could be announced as early as today, persons familiar with the matter said.

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Posted: May 10th, 2011

Yesterday, Google’s blog reported that Google will be launching a sorting feature to be included in their images results. The feature will help return more relevant images to the user’s query:

“When you’re searching for images, sometimes it can be hard to come up with exactly the right words to describe what you have in mind. For example, when you think of London, you might picture the iconic clock tower or the big Ferris wheel. You may not always remember the names of those landmarks, but you can visualize them in your mind” (Google).

For example, when you search for “London,” the default setting returns results ranked by relevance. However, now what you’ll see is an option on the left that reads “Sort by subject.” Upon selecting this option, you’ll see images sorted into categories that “will narrow down your search and help you find the exact image of London that you want.”

This organized view will sort the most popular images associated with London, e.g. the London Eye, Big Ben, Tower Bridge, and the city at night. According to Google, this will better enable the user to arrive at the “ah-ha” moment that might go something like, “Ah, that big clock tower I saw is called Big Ben.” The user can then drill down further to select the most appropriate image within that group.

Furthermore, the new feature will allow users to explore categories within a general topic:

“For example, if you want to get flowers for someone but you only know what their favorite kind looks like, not the name of it, you can sort by subject to learn different flower types and discover the name of the type you’re looking for” (Google).

Watch this video to learn more about how sorting can help you find the image you’re seeking:

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Posted in: Google
Posted: April 20th, 2011

Three months ago, Google released an expansive application suite for government, businesses, and education institutions. Specific to non-profit education institutions is the fact that the core application services are completely free. The core services include customized Gmail, shared calendars, video chat, Google Docs, Google Sites, and more.

Google now seeks to fortify the depth of their application services with a brand new Google Apps Certification Program. Available globally, the Program helps EDU’s and other entities recognize professional service providers whose expertise includes Google Apps configuration and deployment.

Google is taking the Program quite seriously. The final exam lasts several hours and consists of one hundred or so multiple choice questions covering a host of topics. The exam is taken on a learning platform that locks computer activity outside of the test itself and is monitored by a Google representative via a special webcam that needs to be purchased by the certification candidate.

EDU’s have a considerable opportunity to save IT dollars and increase productivity through Google’s free Education Applications. Thousands of institutions have already made the move, and it is expected that Google will continue to grow the service’s capacity and support. To browse a list of EDU case studies, click here.

 

 

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Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: April 15th, 2011

Small business owners are seeing the greatest results from social media marketing. A recent study conducted surveying 3342 marketers, 47% of whom are either self-employed or small business owners, shows that the last three years have been markedly beneficial for SMB’s. Most notably, the findings report that small business owners were more likely than all other groups to realize an increase in their businesses exposure.

Fifty-nine percent of SMB’s surveyed reported social media earning them new business. Small businesses are also twice as likely to find qualified leads than other larger businesses. The survey indicates that time is an important factor in businesses social media success. For example, only 25% of companies engaged in social media practices noted its benefits. Eighty percent of companies reporting an engagement of three years of greater reported benefits.

Companies reported that social media marketing was not taking as much time during the week as anticipated, however. “In fact, seventy-five percent of those spending six hours per week on social media marketing realized increased traffic” to their website. Furthermore, the survey reports that those companies spending at least six hours per week on social media marketing are twice as likely to realize lead generation as those who spend five or fewer hours.

SMB’s clearly stand to benefit from leveraging social media marketing for their products and services. The keys to social success are endurance, competency, and engaging social audiences in unique ways that help people reciprocate communication with your business. For example, Facebooks’s ability to pinpoint customers has “dazzled” some small business owners. Chris Meyer, a Minneapolis wedding photographer, built Facebook ads aimed specifically at female users who: have college degrees, are ages 24-30, just got engaged, live within 50 miles of Minneapolis. Meyer says that his $2,000.00 ads generated $110,000.00 in sales.

 

 

 

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Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: April 7th, 2011

LinkedIn has launched a social news service called LinkedIn Today. The service, aimed at LinkedIn’s 90 million+ business-focused users, is a news aggregation product.

LinkedIn Today seeks to create a news destination for professionals by displaying popular headlines that are relevant to the user. Each user is shown news and stories that have been shared or commented on by their friends and connections within their industry.

Senior Product Manager at LinkedIn, Liz Reaves Walker, had this to say, “You know and trust most of your connections and coworkers, so if they share an article, it’s a good signal that it’s something you should be paying attention to.”

Users aren’t limited to just their connections’ shared headlines. Each user can customize their own unique news experience by choosing from 22 industry feeds, including Real Estate and Technology. Furthermore, subscribers are able to ‘follow’ specific news outlets from within the chosen industries, such as Financial Times and Mashable.

Today, the social giant takes aim at the mobile industry with the launch of LinkedIn Today’s iPhone application. Similar to the online product, iPhone application v 3.6 enables professionals to use their iPhones to access top news shared by the industry peers whether they are in the office or on the go. The application also allows iPhone users to save articles to read at a later time. Watch LinkedIn Today’s YouTube video here.

 

 

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Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 30th, 2011

The past few weeks has brought us major updates from the big three Internet browsers – Google Chrome 10, Firerfox 4, and Internet Explorer 9 – and the verdict’s in regarding speed, and safety.

Many companies have yet to break out from the old IE paradigm. However, recent tests conducted at CNET reveal that IE may no longer be a “best practice.” The tests examined three important browser characteristics: boot time, memory usage, and comparing performance of JavaScript and HTML5 processing. Finally, CNET reflected on this year’s hacking competition, held March 16-20, in Vancouver.

“Each browser’s booting speed was measured by clicking the browser’s icon and timing how long each took to fully load six websites – talkingpoints.com, aol.com, youtube.com, nytimes.com, giantbomb.com, and cnettv.cnet.com,” reported CNET. Firefox won; loading with a mean time of 17.8 sec. A full 4 and 9 seconds faster than IE and Chrome, respectively.

Firefox also uses less memory than its competitors. Loading the same six websites, Firefox utilized almost a third less memory than IE, and almost 65% less memory than Chrome. Firefox also was strongly favored during the HTML5 processing test.

In a surprising turn of events, Internet Explorer finished dead last in terms of safety. According to Computer World, Firefox and Chrome “went unchallenged at this year’s hacking competition.”

It’s important to keep your company’s browsers updated. Not just because older browsers are more and more unable to render many types of web pages in the manner that they were intended, but because in doing so, your company can operate faster, and safer.

 

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Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 29th, 2011

Facebook’s inconspicuous co-founder, Eduardo Saverin, is leading the way in funding top-secret Mountain View, CA start-up, Jumio. Founded in 2010, Jumio claims to be devising a product that will end the need for cash.

Earlier this month, Saverin led a round of investing that brought 6.5 million dollars to the company, now 35 employees strong.

CEO Daniel Mattes had this to say:”The ways online and mobile payments are handled today are practically outdated. There is a lot of space for innovation, and our mission is to make online and mobile payments as simple and secure as a handshake.”

This isn’t the first time Saverin has shown an appetite for “incredibly innovative” start-ups. He recently invested heavily in Qwiki, a website ecosystem that delivers content to users in a manner never before seen. Qwiki is expected to be the standard for user content experience within the next five years.

Saverin’s vision for the Internet is ripe with enormous energy. But he doesn’t take his investing lightly. Saverin’s walked away from numerous start-up solicitations, which he’s critiqued with similar energy. When it comes to Jumio, however, Saverin thinks he’s found gold:  “I’m usually a critical person, but the last time I have seen such a disruptive idea was actually Facebook.”

 

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Posted: March 29th, 2011

Google reported on March 20 that the Chinese government is making it difficult for users to access their email service in what appears to be yet another symptom of a pervasive internet “crackdown” amidst unrest in the Middle East.

Contra the Chinese Government, Google reports that they are having no technical problems with Gmail: “There is no technical issue on our side; we have checked extensively. This is a government blockage carefully designed to look like the problem is with Gmail.”

This is not the first time the Chinese Government has set its aim on the tech giant. In June, 2009, Google came “under attack” by Chinese officials, blocking all Google.com search traffic, as well as email services.

China continues to have some of the Globe’s most authoritarian Internet policies. Their Government either controls or blocks YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. However, China remains an important marketplace for Google’s products. Google has moved its Chinese search engine to Hong Kong, which “operates under separate rules from the rest of mainland China.”

 

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Posted in: Email, International
Posted: March 29th, 2011

On March 20, AT&T Inc. announced acquisition of T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom AG in a “cash-and-stock deal valued at $39 billion.” The deal would make AT&T the largest cellphone company in the U.S., with over 130 million users.

Despite the regulatory risks AT&T faces, the deal’s announcement has both stocks on the move, both being up mid-day Monday.

The jury is still out as to what consequences the customer will face as results of the deal. It’s safe to assume that subscribers to both companies can expect to see service improvements based on expanded coverage areas.

However, T-Mobile is currently leading the way in low cost minutes and data plans. The move is likely to ease pressure on ATT&T from these low cost plans, leading to more expensive services. Furthermore, it is likely that U.S. customers will see the diversity of handsets decrease.

“We know the results of arrangements like this – higher prices, fewer choices, less innovation,” said public interest group Public Knowledge’s president, Gigi Sohn. The group went on to note that eradicating one of the four national phone carriers is “unthinkable.”

For now, news of the acquisition doesn’t mean a thing for customers on either side. The long regulatory process is expected to hold up the close of the deal for at least12 months. It is expected to close, however. And when it does, one of the largest cell providers in the world will be no more.

 

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