Google is now playing a major role in helping with the recovery of natural disasters. Ever since the devastating earthquake in Haiti last year, Google has been working along with the U.S. Department of State to develop a Person Finder page as well as crisis response pages to help the victims of major earthquakes. This website creates a forum for people to search a database for missing persons’ names, or leave messages or information for their missing friends and family, in addition to adding any news they may have about other persons listed on the site. This site has been helpful in recovering information on victims in the Chilean earthquake this year, the Chinese earthquake in 2010, and most recently with the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand (Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011). According to Mashable, more than 6,500 records were created just one day after the New Zealand earthquake, and over 10,000 records have been created to date according to Google’s Person Finder Page. In addition to this, Google’s crisis response pages display current updates from Twitter and YouTube, as well as emergency contacts, numbers, and resources, including maps of the distressed area. Hopefully, these Google Person Finder pages will assist with the recovery of these victims in the fastest way possible.
February 27, 2011
February 24, 2011
Google announced last week that they’re—wait for it—yes, rolling out another new change to their search results pages. Recognizing the power and popularity of this whole social media phenomenon, they’ve decided to further integrate the social experience. Their desired result is more personalized and trusted search results and happier online searchers. (And world domination, I am sure.)
Here’s how your search results might change:
- Let’s say you search for a specific restaurant in Chicago and a friend recently wrote a blog post about the horrible service there—because of your connection to her through other networks, that post would be displayed in the search results. You’ll see her link mixed right in with everything else, along with an annotation below the link that you’re seeing this because Sabrina blogged about it. Google sees this as valuable because you’ve just been given insight about the restaurant from a trusted source. Of course, that Sabrina was always such a stickler for service.
- Similarly, if you’re looking for a video that had you laughing so hard you cried, but only really remember the name loosely, and you search for “video with the monkeys and the umbrella,” you may see your friend Bruce’s tweet of the “monkey umbrella video” with the link straight to it. Again, an annotation below that link gives you a head’s up that your trusted friend Bruce tweeted this. This is pretty handy for recalling fun stuff like monkey videos.
- Additionally, Google explains that they’ve granted us more control over the connections we allow in our Google profiles. While we could always publicly connect a Google profile with a Blogger account, we can now do so privately. Basically, they’re trying to give us more opportunity to drive this personalization.
February 17, 2011
You may have heard the rumblings of this new concert venue coming to the Chicagoland area. If you haven’t, you’re really missing out. envisionit is ecstatic to be working with the newest concert venue opening in Lincolnshire next month, brought to you by the creators of theWit hotel in downtown Chicago.
Viper Alley will kick things off with a performance by American Idol winner Lee DeWyze March 10. It stands to be a live concert experience like no other. Imagine seeing a live show with the latest in video, sound, and lighting technology… Then getting to stay and party as the venue transforms into a lounge/nightclub. Need a place to host the coolest private event, birthday or bar mitzvah in town? You can rent out Viper when there is not a live show, or rent out the bowling lanes and get treated like a VIP with concierge and bottle service.
Not only did we get to have a lot of fun with design and messaging here, but the nerds in us are enjoying the challenge of integrating the first ever ticketing and venue CRM into one cohesive platform.
Why do the folks at Viper want to do that you may ask? Because they want you to have the best web experience possible and make your ticket purchase flawless, all while learning everything they can to make sure your experience when you come to Viper really amplifies your soul….
Stay tuned for another website launch coming soon where you’ll be able to sample tunes and videos from the artists performing (check out the live concert event schedule here) as well as book a Reservation for Package with your ticket purchase right online.
February 16, 2011
Oreo came up with a brilliant social media campaign on Feb 15th 2011 to rally up their 16 million plus fans to set the Guinness record for the most Facebook ‘likes’ in a 24-hour period, and ultimately make Oreo the world’s most “liked” cookie. They set the bar at 50,000 ‘likes’, and were able to accomplish that feat with a staggering 114,619 likes in a 24-hour period. Guinness World Records then confirmed today at 9am EST that Oreo now holds the record for the for the most ‘likes’ on a Facebook post in 24 hours- But for how long?
It seems that Lil Wayne caught wind of Oreo’s social media push, and decided to make an attempt at the record as well (4 hours later). Within an hour he accumulated a whopping 194,092 ‘likes’, and eventually ended the 24-hour period at an astonishing 588,905 ‘likes’ to ultimately stomp Oreo’s existing record into proverbial cookie crumbs.
So why’d Lil Wayne do this to Oreo? According to Mashable.com, Mazy Kazerooni, Lil Wayne’s digital manager, says that the idea was to show the star’s social media prowess. “I want people to think ‘Bieber, Gaga and Lil Wayne.’ The traffic we do is ridiculous and no one really knows,” Kazerooni says.
Although, Lil Wayne consumed Oreo’s world record like an after dinner snack (with a dip in milk first, of course ), this battle for the record has turned to drive a huge amount of publicity for both Lil Wayne and Oreo, more than both parties could have possibly imagined. It just goes to show the power that Facebook and other social media outlets hold these days, and the opportunity for a small campaign such as this to go viral and grow into a beast of it’s own.
February 10, 2011
Hitwise today announced the January search engine market share stats. Interestingly enough, Bing’s share went up 21% and Google’s went down 2%. However, even more interesting were these stats:
“Bing and Yahoo! Search achieved the highest success rates in January 2011. This means that for both search engines, more than 81%of searches executed resulted in a visit to a Website. Google achieved a success rate of 65%.”
Does this mean Bing’s algorithms are more relevant in that they are producing better results that are converting into website visitors? Do you find yourself doing two, three searches in Google before landing on a website?
Another surprising stat was that the length of search queries went up – queries 4-8 words increased 5% over December whereas queries 1-4 words decreased 1%…what we find interesting is the affect that Google Instant has had on these stats.
February 4, 2011
It’s no surprise that this week’s blizzard was perhaps one of the most finely documented accounts of real-time, crowd-sourced local weather reporting to date.
First came WGN’s Tom Skilling, ever the canary in the mine. His Tuesday morning Facebook feed was an assault of long-winded posts and various color-coded weather models, each and every one with its big cryptic mark of doom positioned directly over Chicago.
By Tuesday afternoon, Twitter was bursting at the seams with posters racing to outwit each other with witty hashtags. Among the most widely embraced: #snOMG, #snowpocalypse, #snowtoriousBIG, #snowprah #snowmageddon.
The envisionit offices closed up shop at 3:00 on Tuesday, and I settled in at home by a window and fired up my laptop. Like any good nerd would.
By early evening, a crowdmap had been set up by the Chicago Tribune, WGN, and the Chicago Weather Center. “Ask for help, lend a hand: Blizzard 2011” erupted with reports ranging from warming-center addresses to user comments like “thanks, guy in bulldozer, for plowing Marshfield & Pearson.”
Meanwhile, I followed the wave of #thundersnow tweets across the city and suburbs. By 11:00pm, both Lake Shore Drive and Thundersnow had made Twitter’s list of worldwide trends.
The envisionit offices remained closed today, so we all worked from home. Facebook whined and whined about cabin fever. Longman & Eagle bragged a few more times about staying open during the storm. My friend Jaime posted a pretty little Flickr set of the snow.
Finally, the excitement has waned, and we’re all laying out our snowsuits for tomorrow’s commute. Oh, and the Chicago Forecaster Blog just gave Tom Skilling an A+.
And now? Now, I am going to go outside and play in the snow.
The local, mobile, check in, and collective bargaining movements are starting to merge over at Google. Even though they aren’t always the ones with the first idea, if Google embraces it, you pretty much know it’s going to be big or is at least a hint at where the future is going. So let’s take a look at exactly what’s happening out west in good old Mountain View, California.
Google launched Google Places in April 2010 to help searchers find local business quickly on a map, without having to navigate through pages and pages of search results. Google Place pages allow a business to showcase their products, services, location and highlight important information like hours and contact information. Now users don’t have to go slogging through a phone book or a businesses website to figure out how to contact them. Google made the place pages easy to see in searches and over time they started showing up directly underneath websites.
It’s important to note that Google has been spending a lot of time working on their local listings and encouraging businesses to update their place pages. There are many reasons for this, but it’s easy to see that Google is distancing itself further and further from Bing and Yahoo. The Google business plan is to offering so many intuitive easy to use features that a user can find everything they want in Google. It won’t be long before you will be able to search for a pizza restaurant in your area and have a sample slice through Google…. Just Kidding. But seriously, things are getting crazy.
February 2, 2011
The Sun-Times reported a drop in Chicago museum attendance from 2009 to 2010. If local art museum attendance drops even more in 2011, perhaps we can blame Google.
Art Project by Google aims to bring the world’s museums to online users. Think Google Street View in a museum.
Users virtually tour museums—including Palace of Versailles, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum Kampa, and Van Gogh Museum—click on paintings to zoom (within millimeters, in some cases) and see additional details about the artist and piece. Additional video details are available on selected works.
User gripes? Cramped on a laptop. Art Project just isn’t meant for anything with a screen smaller than 15 inches. But if it just isn’t practical to visit Spain to see Coffee Grinder, Cup and Glass on a Table in person, this is your best bet.