If you're looking to add a bit of Christmas cheer to your business stationery, you might want to head over to Google to try out some of their templates. They have added to their collection survey forms, gift tags, mailing labels, postcards and even video cards. All of these can be accessed through Google Docs. Take a look at the Google Blog for more information.
Looking to get something more out of Gmail? Then you may be interested in Google's latest app: Gmail Video and Voice Chat, which adds the video element into the chat bar of Gmail. More to come (hat tip to James) ...
Having spoken in my last article about the potential issues of cloud computing, I would now recommend you spend a couple of minutes looking at how two awesome cloud computing companies have come together to offer businesses, one sweet tool. This video shows how the CRM application Salesforce and Google Apps, like Gmail, Calendar and Talk, can provide companies with a big competitive advantage. What's more, it allows sales and other people to access information from any device which has Internet access. Some months' back I saw how Salesforce could combine with a simple web enquiry form to register leads which originated from Google AdWords - this takes that one step further. Something tells me that this video may be making its way into the eCRM module of my eMarketing Award course!
I've just come out of my Google Analytics account and moved away (briefly) from Twitter to write this article up. My Google Analytics gives me some great information and insight into the way that my customers, potential customer and even competitors behave. For instance, the stats today have just told me that the presentation slides and additional information that I uploaded for last month's eMarketing Award course have been viewed by three of the six people this week. Let's hope they're using it to get their reports done!
Google Analytics can also tell me which potential organisations are interested in my courses. It'll tell me how often they have come on the site and how long they spent looking at the content. The problem here lies with knowing what you are going to do with the information. I know that someone from Halifax Bank (not true, obviously!) came on the site, I know the keyword they used to find my site but I don't know why they are there or who exactly they are. It is only when the enquiry comes through that I can act on it - but at least I will have some information regarding their viewing habits on my site when I speak to them.
Speaking of customers, I had an interesting experience recently on Twitter. I have been using Twitter quite extensively over the past few weeks and come to appreciate what a cool tool it is for researching, discussing and even for promoting your own website/business/products. Last week, I was experiencing some problems with my TypePad account and decided to Tweet about it (post on Twitter). Here's what I said:
Within an hour or so the good people at TypePad had not only responded to me through a Direct Message but they also added me to their list of people to follow. This means that they can follow (if they want) my conversations on Twitter and identify any issues that I may have with their software straight away. They may also be using Twitter Search (formerly Summize) to set up RSS alerts:
From a marketing perspective, it's wonderful that all of these tools are free and can offer us boundless opportunities to listen to, and act on, client conversations that are going on out there.
If you'd like to follow me on Twitter, head over to my profile page: twitter.com/alunjohn and start following.
Google has teamed up with celebrities to encourage Americans to register to vote for the US elections next month. A host of celebrities including:
Amy Adams, will.i.am, Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Bacon, Halle Berry, Kate Bosworth, Kevin Connolly, Courteney Cox, Ellen DeGeneres, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx, Jonah Hill, Dustin Hoffman, Anthony Kiedis, Ashton Kutcher, Adam Levine, Laura Linney, Eva Longoria, Tobey Maguire, Demi Moore, Natalie Portman, Giovanni Ribisi, Ethan Suplee, Kyra Sedgwick, Michelle Trachtenberg, Usher, and Forest Whitaker.
take part in a 5-minute (almost!) video to ask people to register to vote at http://maps.google.com/vote. In quite a witty piece they ask viewers to tell 5 of their friends (online) about registering. Many people have now taken this conversation over to Twitter, their own blogs and Facebook. Ah, the power of social media!
I wonder if a similar thing could hapen in the UK when we come to vote in a year or two. The turnout last time was the second lowest ever at 61%.
Here's a pretty good, albeit short, video I came across on Beet.tv. It's an interview with Google's Vice President Marissa Mayer and in it she talks about some of the key benefits of Google's Chrome browser and how it is different to other browsers (read IE and Firefox).
[via Battelle's Searchblog]
Just came across an interesting article on the Sugarrae website - Did Twitter Lay Down For Google? - which talks about Twitter's decision to add the nofollow rule to the bio links on Twitter. The point that she raises on both the blog article and through her Twitter account is why shouldn't she get credit from Google:
And that last tweet is something everyone should really be looking at. My personal twitter page has 1700 links,
1500+ followers, contains over 7000 tweets and is a toolbar PR of 5.
Last I checked, I got all those links. I wrote all that content. All
those people were following me as a person. I developed that link
popularity. Why on earth would I not deserve ALL the benefits
(including that in the form of a profile link) from building up the
value of that page?
I'd recommend reading the article, the comments, trackbacks and various Tweets to see all sides of the argument.
You will probably have heard all the hype this week about Google Chrome, Google's first browser and one which is being pitched against both Internet Explorer and Firefox. Here's Google's take on Google Chrome:
On the surface, we designed a browser window that is streamlined and
simple. To most people, it isn't the browser that matters. It's only a
tool to run the important stuff -- the pages, sites and applications
that make up the web. Like the classic Google homepage, Google Chrome
is clean and fast. It gets out of your way and gets you where you want
Under the hood, we were able to build the foundation of a
browser that runs today's complex web applications much better. By
keeping each tab in an isolated "sandbox", we were able to prevent one
tab from crashing another and provide improved protection from rogue
sites. We improved speed and responsiveness across the board. We also
generation of web applications that aren't even possible in today's
I downloaded it the other day and it does seem to be pretty fast and, speaking as a non-techie, it does appera to use less processing power than Firefox. I think I need to see how it compares to some of the elements that I have on Firefox - like Live BookMarks and the ability to get RSS before I come to a conclusion on it. There are some things I do liek the soudn of, such as the fact that a tab can crash and not take out the whole application and I do like the about queries you can ask it.
There are already some dissenters who reckon that the latest Internet Explorer browser (8) puts both Chrome and Firefox to shame.
You can find some more information on Google's Blog - Google Chrome Now Live.
I must say I thought my computer was playing up this morning - I
went to my Google search page and it went completely black. On closer
inspection I found the line:
We've turned the lights out. Now it's your turn - Earth Hour
Google users in the United Kingdom will notice today that we
"turned the lights out" on the Google.co.uk homepage as a gesture to
raise awareness of a worldwide energy conservation effort called Earth
It will all culminate in Earth Hour, where people around the world
are invited to turn their lights off for one hour (8-9 pm on Saturday
night in the UK).
It doesn't look though like Google.com, based in the country that wastes more energy that any other country on earth, is following suit!