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Jul 20 11

MultiMi combines your digital identities into a single platform

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It’s hard to get excited about a desktop app that unifies your various social media and email accounts, but MultiMi from Israeli startup Zbang and AVG is not your average aggregator.

MultiMi is a free Windows desktop app that allows you to combine all of your inboxes, social networking sites, chat applications, calendars, files and contacts in one place. So, in addition to having your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, you can have Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo and any POP or IMAP email account, Google Docs, YouTube, Flickr, Picasa, Google Calendar, Box.net and your hard drive file system all accessible through the app. Google Plus is currently not supported, but as soon as it releases its API it will be. In fact MultiMi claims support any web-based service with an available API.

Eidan Apelbaum, CEO of Zbang and former Director of Product Management and Strategy at Yahoo, explains : “The way we designed it was by building up autonomous pieces of code that communicated in a very efficient way. The building blocks are not interdependent, which means we can have 100s of connections running in parallel and there are no problems if one of the services is down. For each service we need to find out two things: How can I authenticate and what information can you provide me (so for Picasa, that is photos)?”.

Over the last few days, I’ve been putting the app to the test, with two email accounts, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Flickr, Google Docs, Gmail and YouTube. At a very basic level, it merges your feeds together, so that you have a single inbox with all of your messages, be they from your email accounts, Facebook messages or Twitter DMs. You can reply to any of those accounts from MultiMi, select the email address or service you want to send it from/to.

It’s extremely easy to share content from one service to another by dragging and dropping, without downloading locally. So an attachment can be pulled from one email and into another, along with a photo from your Flickr account without having to download, save and reattach. You can even preview the documents — whatever the format — without having to download them. Likewise you can drag and drop a tweet you want to share into an email or a YouTube video from someone’s Facebook profile straight into an email.

Similarly, if I want to simply view the videos that have been sent to me, I can click on the “media” tab and it will show me all of the videos and music that have been shared with me via email, Facebook, LinkedIn or are housed on my hard drive. And I can play the files immediately from within the app, without having to link through to a browser.

Zbang is keen to emphasise the security features of the app. For a start, all of the content sharing is cloud-based so that the app remains nimble, but all of your passwords are stored on your local machine. Furthermore, all of the links that come into the app are scanned by AVG’s Linkscanner so you are better protected against nefarious Twitter links, for example.

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Tags: multimi, social media, Social Network, Social networking

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Jul 19 11

Online stores ‘must focus on mcommerce’

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Online retailers need to focus their marketing efforts on making goods available to buy for parcel delivery via mobile phones.

According to Rob Thurner, mobile consultant and digital trainer at the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing, it is vital for sellers to grasp the full potential offered by the web.

Mcommerce is rapidly growing in popularity, he continued, making compatibility with the various smartphones and tablet computers on the market a critical part of any modern store.

“You need to make sure that your website is optimised for mobile,” he explained. “This means spending some proper money and working with a professional agency that can detect whether the browser is mobile or PC and automatically
redirect traffic.”

Mr Thurner added that simply building apps is not enough.

Making a site available to as wide an audience as possible is the key, he continued, with compatibility across all platforms a crucial part of that.

 

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Tags: m-commerce, mcommerce

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Jul 18 11

Space shuttle program inspires new education website

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NASA’s space shuttle program is coming to a close this week as the Atlantis heads back to Earth Wednesday. A new website highlights the history of the shuttle missions and serves as an education tool for both teachers and students.

The first space shuttle flew in 1981. Five shuttles have flown: Columbia, Discovery, Challenger, Endeavour and Atlantis.

 

The new NASA education website: Space Shuttle—A Mighty Machine traces the history of these shuttle missions. Users also learn about educators who became astronauts.

 

“Basically at this website, you can do many different things. You can learn about the history of the shuttle program and how it has impacted our world and inspired our students and educators. You can learn about the different missions.

 

“There are 135 total, including this current mission STS-135. You can also learn about different education activities that have taken place such as the Engineering Design Challenge,” said Mathew Keil, Lead Education Specialist in the Teaching From Space office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Texas.

 

The Engineering Design Challenge began four years ago on a shuttle mission with astronaut Barbara Morgan. The activity encourages students in grades K-12 to design chambers that will allow them to grow basil seeds or plants in extreme or microgravity environments like the Moon or Mars.

 

Keil said the site is a resource for both in and outside the classroom.

 

“The shuttle website will highlight that activity and then there is a link available that will take you to all of the resources needed. There are lesson plans for teachers, videos for students and teachers to use and a link to directly order the seeds that will be shipped directly to the school, museum or science center,” said Keil.

 

The website is a collaboration between NASA’s Teaching From Space Office and the space agency’s Educational Technologies Services Office.

 

Along with the education activities, the site also highlights the technical feats of the shuttle program.

 

Every day, in a variety of ways, American’s lives are touched by space technology. Since 1976, there have been more than 1500 documented NASA technologies that have benefited U.S. industry or improved the quality of lives and created jobs.

 

The website highlights over 100 spin-offs that came from the shuttle program.

 

“Some of the ones that are highlighted on the website include the artificial heart and you may say how did the artificial heart come out of the space shuttle program? Well, the technology that was used in the space shuttle fuel pumps led to the development of a miniaturized ventricular assist pump by NASA and then that was carried over by a famous heart surgeon. That is one end of the spectrum. You can go to automotive insulation. A lot of the materials from the space shuttle thermal protection systems are on NASCAR racing cars,” said Keil.

 

A goal for the website is getting students in grades K-12 interested in STEM or science, technology, engineering and math careers.

 

Keil is a former high school engineering teacher. He said although the shuttle program is ending, it’s important to recognize how it has laid groundwork for future space exploration.

 

“Currently, NASA is working to send humans to explore the solar system and working toward a goal of landing humans on Mars.  NASA plans to build a multi-purpose crew vehicle and a lot of this was based on the design of from the Orion capsule that was part of the constellation program so it is exciting and with those of us with educational backgrounds there will be so many teachable moments in this,” said Keil.

 

New activities and information from the final mission of shuttle Atlantis will soon be added to the website. Keil said Space Shuttle—A Mighty Machine will stay up well beyond the final flight.

 

For more information about the Space Shuttle—A Mighty Machine website click here.

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Tags: NASA, New website

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Jul 18 11

Twitter and Microsoft Hammering Out Bing Integration

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Having recently lost a Google contract that added tweets to the company’s search results, Twitter is treading shaky waters in ongoing negotiations with Microsoft over a similar use arrangement.

 

According to All Things D’s Liz Gannes, there are a few pain points over which the two companies are currently chatting.  But, if successfully negotiated, Microsoft could ultimately land the keys to the real-time kingdom: long-term access to the real-time updates provided by both Facebook and Twitter, which would accompany the site’s standard search results.

 

The two companies have six extra months to hammer out the details—Twitter signed real-time search contracts with Google and Microsoft in the fall of 2009, but Microsoft got a slightly longer timeframe than its big competition.  Twitter is allegedly asking for an increased licensing fee for use of its real-time information: $30 million, or double the cost of the company’s original contract with Microsoft.

 

While that sounds like a lot, Gannes reports that it’s actually one of the “less contentious” parts of the negotiations.  Twitter wants increased control over Bing’s user interface, or how its information is presented within Microsoft’s search, in addition to more links to Twitter itself within Bing.  The two sides also have yet to come to terms with advertising: Specifically, how both companies will split revenue for advertising that appears in conjunction with Twitter information.

 

The elephant in the room, however, is just how much Microsoft needs real-time feeds.  And more importantly, how the company’s apparent push into the social space could affect ongoing negotiations.  Consider Google: While the company lost access to the official Twitter firehose once contract negotiations imploded, Google went right around and deployed its own social network, Google+, which it will invariably use to build real-time social information into its search results in some extended, future capacity.

 

While Twitter might already have the established user base, it’s possible that Microsoft sees a future where its own alleged social service, code-named Tulalip, becomes the company’s real-time information repository.

 

And it’s also possible that Microsoft could eschew the entire idea.  As Gannes writes, real-time search has yet to become a driving factor on today’s Web: In fact, the market for third-party real-time search services has been imploding as of late.  To Microsoft, establishing complicated licensing arrangements with other companies just to gain access to a firehose of real-time chit chat about the latest Harry Potter movie might not be worth the effort in the long run.

 

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Tags: Bing, Microsoft, Twitter

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Jul 18 11

New website suggests meal ideas based on contents of fridge

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A new website that customizes meal ideas according to the contents of your fridge and boasts the culinary star power of former New York Times food critic Amanda Hesser is making the rounds on the internet.

 

Launched at the end of June, the new site has already gained the attention of celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson, who listed Gojee as one of the five web-based food startups to keep an eye on this month, and has also garnered mentions on Mashable.com, Gothamist and TechCrunch.com.

Gojee is a take on the goji berry native to the Himalayas which has been touted as a new superfood for its anti-oxidant properties.

The site draws from a pool of prolific and well-known food bloggers like Hesser and her Food52.com partner Merrill Stubbs; Irvin Lin of Eat the Love; and Helene Dujardin of Tartelette, an award-winning blogger for her food photography.

In addition to providing recipes based on food cravings, the site also offers meal ideas based on the contents of your pantry and fridge.

After inputting two ingredients – for instance, eggs and tomatoes – the recipe search engine suggests making a sundried tomato and mushroom omelette with creamy tomato basil sauce, courtesy of food blog SteamyKitchen.com.

Another search for chicken and pasta yields a Food52.com recipe for Zucchini and Green Coriander Pasta that requires spaghetti, chicken thighs, shallots, zucchini, cottage cheese, cilantro and butter.

Facebook fans have taken to the Gojee wall to express their appreciation.

“Now my girlfriend thinks I can cook,” wrote one fan.

http://www.gojee.com/

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Tags: new design, New website, new website design, new website launch

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Jul 15 11

Is Microsoft’s ‘Accidently Leaked’ Secret a Social Networking Project?

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Apparently social networking features are proving to be goldmines for tech giants with Facebook attracting major share of internet traffic, and Google catching up with Google+. Social networking ventures are being valued sky high and the LinkedIn IPO wasn’t bad either. No wonder if Microsoft wanted to join the game.

Microsoft might be working on a social project called Tulalip, according to details from a splash page that was “accidentally published” to www.Socl.com recently. Currently a message which reads, “Thanks for stopping by.  Socl.com is an internal design project from a team in Microsoft Research which was mistakenly published to the web.  We didn’t mean to, honest,” is on the display as the “unintentionally published” page has been taken down.

 

 

The page which was up at Socl.com described the project, “With Tulalip you can Find what you need and share what you know easier than ever”, along with options to connect to the service through Facebook and Twitter registrations. The “Tiles” of images found on the page was reminiscent of the interface design found on Microsoft’s new Window’s Phone 7 operating system. Also Socl.com is shorthand for social.

There has been no formal comment from Microsoft on the matter though the “accidental publishing” of page has led to a good deal of speculation, with some alleging that Microsoft intentionally published the page to arouse interest.

So, the big question remains: Will Microsoft join the ‘social’ race?

http://whois.domaintools.com/socl.com

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Tags: Microsoft, social media, Social Network, Social networking, Socl

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Jul 14 11

Social Media is Changing Your Search Results

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Google+

The rules of search results are constantly changing and is a testament to a highly dynamic industry, where there seems to be never-ending volatility in how search results are determined.

“Although traditional search engine optimization (SEO) techniques dominate the ability of achieving favorable ranking positions on major search engines, Social Media has been making a substantial push toward affecting the order in which websites appear in search results”, states Wisnefski. “The addition of Google’s +1 and Bing’s Facebook plug-in have both made a significant argument for social media’s effects on SEO and the pending public release of Google Plus will be no exception”.

Google’s +1 went live June 1, 2011, and gives users a way to recommend to their network (Google chat contacts, Gmail contacts) webpages and ads that they feel are useful and contain relevant and authoritative information. Pages that generate many +1′s will populate earlier on Google search results than those websites and ads that do not. Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, announced not long ago that a new Facebook plug-in will favor websites that have been “liked” by users’ network of contacts on Facebook. These two additions solidify the notion that one’s level of importance within the social graph is highly valued within search algorithms and rank placements. In addition, recent additions within Google’s Analytics and Web Master Tools, as well as continued Facebook Insights enhancements, allow web site owners more data than ever related to social engagement.

“The SEO industry is dramatically changing, in that search result positions are being affected by other variables of Social Media that did not use to exist”, states Wisnefski.

Although these changes are impacting SEO, it is a move to continue to provide quality content to end-users, by continuing to filter out websites and ads that lack value. The challenge for SEO firms going forward includes not only optimizing websites, but also creating enticing webpages that are likely to attract “seal of approval’s” from their users.

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Tags: seo, social media, Social Network, Social networking, social networks

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Jul 13 11

Google Plus 1 Social SEO

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After Google has been losing so much business to Facebook and social media in general, they are now adding social features to their search results.

Googles ranking algorithm has relied on votes supplied to it in the form of, “Inbound links”. Now they are adding “The Social”
component.

See the announcement article here

What is Google +1?

Google +1 allows you to ‘+1’ websites that you like and think are relevant to your search. If your contacts are also using it then their own +1s will show up in your feed too, giving you a way to see which results they endorse.

 

How do I activate Google +1?

Sign into your Google account and the option to turn it on is up in the right hand corner as below.

 

Can I add +1 to my website?

Yes, you or your agency can (and should) add the +1 button to your site today – it’s available in all shapes and sizes. All you need to do is insert two lines of code into your template and you’re away.

 

How do you add +1 to your website?

Step 1: Place this tag in the web page <head> or just before the close </body> tag:

<script type=”text/javascript” src=”http://apis.google.com/js/plusone/js></script>

Step 2: Place this tag where you want the +1 button to render:

<g:plusone size=”standard”></g:plusone>

This snippet is for the standard +1 button. If you want to use another size on your pages, change size=”standard” to size=”tall” or to any other size that’s appropriate for the page. Experiment and see what works best

 

What does Google +1 mean for SEO?

It has been announced by Google that they will soon start using this information to influence real search ranking results alongside data from its older ‘block’ button.

Many website owners are concerned that the ‘block’ and ‘+1’ button could be exploited by spammers to coordinate attacks on certain websites or their competition. But you can be sure that Google will be just as sensitive to this possibility, performing a lot of checks and tests before they introduce a new source of major influence to ranking results.

 

It is also worth mentioning that +1 button will work alongside Google Adwords and influence the position of the PPC ad on the pages and search results across the web…

What now?

First thing to do is to add the button to your website – the earlier it’s on there, the sooner you can start building your value in this currency before the competition catch on. If and when Google starts to integrate this into rankings, you’ll reap the benefits.

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Tags: Google plus, seo

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Jul 12 11

Use Twitter Inside Google Plus – View and Send Tweets !

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 Google+

With our Google + social network account in motion, we thought it time to take a look at some nice little enhancements to your Google + experience.

Usability Boost for Google Plus.

 

This extension will help you visualize the flow of informations on Google Plus

It's small CSS changes that put the focus on the content, separating visually posts and comments

The Google/Notification bar stays at a fixed position on top so you'll never miss a notification again

We found this site: http://chromestory.com/2011/07/google-plus-is-your-tiwtter-client/   useful in merging the Google Plus and Twitter together. But we reccommend you look at the reddit forum first. If you’re a developer testing using a dummy account this is fine to test but this addon “could” be a security issue for REAL users.

It’s easy, visit this page and install the user script. This is not even a normal Chrome extension. So, please do your own research about security and privacy before installing.

Features

  • Tweet
  • Short URL’s through bit.ly
  • Share Photos through TwitPic
  • Share Videos through TwitVid
  • Share your location
  • and watch your timeline!

 

 

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Tags: Google plus, Twitter

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Jul 12 11

One-Million Apps now registered, Twitter Unveils New Developer Portal

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Twitter has just published a blog post reporting that the platform is currently supporting one million registered third-party apps, built by more than 750,000 developers around the world. And a new app is registered every 1.5 seconds. Furthermore, since December 2010, more than $500 million has been invested in companies in the Twitter ecosystem companies, and more than a billion dollars has been paid out in acquisitions.

These are impressive stats for Twitter’s developer ecosystem, considering that the platform only supported 150,000 apps a year ago. Today, the company is also unveiling a new developer portal, which aims to create a more centralized platform for third-party developers.

The portal, which was launched using Drupal, includes a new discussion forum, moving away from the mailing list that twitter used previously. Discussions can be filtered by “Hot Topics” for the most popular conversations. And you can subscribe to the categories and threads that interest you most. A “Dev Teatime” section aims to be a more social feature for devs to meet.

The new developer-focused blog will include API announcements, events, tips and how-tos, case studies on apps, product insights, and more. Documentation has been improved in terms of structure and searchability.

Twitter has also rolled out a new, streamlined app manager and improved search at dev.twitter.com with filters and archives from the developer groups mailing list.

Twitter has had a tenuous relationships with its developers, and the new portal is one way to improve communications. In March, Twitter basically told developers to avoid competing with them on native clients. It’s not that Twitter doesn’t want developers to build off their platform, they just don’t want developers to build clients that mimic Twitter’s own services. As we’ve written in the past, this is business, not personal.  But the FTC reportedly is making inquiries about whether the company’s developer policies are anti-competitive

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Tags: social media, Social Network, Social networking, social networks, Twitter

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Jul 8 11

Google+ is a plus for small businesses

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Google+

Last week, Google Inc. took another stab at establishing a stronger foothold in the social media world with the launch of Google+.

 

In some respects, Google+ is the company’s attempt to take on Facebook with a service that will leverage Google’s search engine supremacy and the growing number of free online services it offers.

After spending a few days exploring Google+, I think there a variety of reasons why the free service is worth using. Entrepreneurs and small business owners should similarly explore Google+ to see if there are any benefits to enhance how they operate online.

Perhaps the most compelling feature is the ability to split your friends, family and business contacts into “circles” as opposed to a big bucket like Facebook does.

A business could, for example, create circles for existing clients, leads, partners, suppliers and professional contacts.

With your professional world split up, content and information could be shared based on the interests and needs of each circle. This makes it easy to provide content that may be relevant to one group but not valuable or relevant to other group.

Another interesting Google+ feature is how it integrates with other Google services. For anyone using Gmail, Google Docs, Google Finance, Blogger or Google News, it will be easy to share information and content via your Google+ profile.

I also like the fact that Google+ lets users control their data (although I suspect Google will leverage it to generate advertising opportunities).

If any Google+ users want to leave the service, they can take their data with them. And it is easy to delete your Google+ account. Facebook, on the other hand, controls a user’s data, and it can be difficult to delete an account.

It would be unrealistic to expect Google+ to be a Facebook killer but it will be another interesting social media option for small businesses and entrepreneurs looking to have a stronger or more vibrant digital presence

 

 

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Tags: Google, Google plus, Small businesses

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