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Chrome 25 to use SSL Encryption – 24th January 2013 Google Chrome is set to follow in the footsteps of Firefox and mobile Safari by using encryption in the next launch of Chrome v.25, thus blocking publishers from accessing search term data. Last year, studies showed that upto 39% of Google search data had been encrypted and the amount of terms categorised as "not provided" in Google Analytics has certainly been increasing over time. This latest move by Google will increase this percentage even higher as we edge closer and closer to a majority encrypted search environment. –

Kevin Ting

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48 Additional Countries and Territories Can Download Google+ iOS App – 23rd January 2013 In recent days, there has been plenty of discussion surrounding Facebook’s Graph Search and what repercussions this will have on Google and its user base, with the former bidding to monopolise an internet user’s journey from start to finish by essentially locking them into the Facebook ecosystem. This all sounds very conspiratorial and it does not help when Facebook explicitly explains its decision to team up with Bing rather than Google is due to Microsoft’s more lax privacy regulations, which fit in perfectly with Facebook’s ever increasing desire to extract user information, often times without their knowledge. So where does this place Google and its social networking offering? Well, Google has not conceded defeat in this department and continues to take the necessary steps to increase Google+ exposure, one of which relates to the title of this article. Namely, Google have made available their G+ app on iOS in an additional 48 countries and territories around the world, a significant step given the market coverage Apple commands. This is in spite of the widely reported difficulties between these two tech giants, but in many ways it is these apparently insignificant measures that inform a greater effect on the industry as a whole. With the likes of Samsung, Apple, Google and now Facebook at loggerheads over all manner of issues from privacy to copyright, there is uncertainty as to how it will work out for the parties concerned. What is certain though is this will not be the last we will hear about them any time soon, as behind the

grandstanding releases and announcements there is an army of people keeping things ticking over, as the extended release of the G+ app illustrates. -

Jafar Mahir

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Google Introduced Mobile Ads Showcase App – 22nd January 2013 Google has introduced Mobile Ads Showcase App recently to help advertisers and agencies explore successful mobile rich media ads (mobile video and HTML5 ads), test various mobile ad formats and experience mobile ads exactly as their users will. The app lets you explore what best-in-class advertisers are doing with mobile rich media, and learn about all that is possible with Google Mobile Ads. Additionally, agencies can use the app as their mobile portfolio by coding, testing and uploading their HTML5 ad examples to the MRAID-compliant “My Ads” screen. The app is now available for Android smartphones and tablets through the Google Play Store. -

Blair Liu

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Facebook powered Search Engine – 22nd January 2013 Last week, Facebook announced a major development in its search functionality; graph search is a friend-based search engine that connects users to places all over the social network via friend recommendations and activity. Users will be able to use simple, specific phrases to search their social network for specific content that is relevant to their query. This could be drink brands their friends like, members of their social network that live in a particular city or recommendations for good, local restaurants.

The fact that we are seeing the first real signs of a burgeoning “traditional” search experience bodes well for the future potential of Facebook as a search engine. However, the value this new feature adds for brands is unclear; Graph Search is only as good as the information users give to Facebook, and some users may like particular pages/ content for reasons other than to show their endorsement of the brand. A further consideration is that a spectrum of data reliability exists. Graph Search searches behavioural data (listens, likes, check-ins etc) as well as voluntarily divulged profile information, meaning that whilst Spotify ‘listens’ are generally a good reflection of the users’ taste (unless multiple individuals share an account), things like restaurant check-ins may be heavily biased towards those offering check-in deals. If this is the case, then the quality of search results risk being contaminated, and consequently, their value to the user depleted. Regardless of the quality of data provided, feedback from search data is essential so as to allow brands to understand how to optimise their search results. Google, for example, has a strong set of planning and feedback tools; we know search volumes, search rankings etc. It’s not immediately obvious that these will be available to Facebook advertisers in the short to medium term, and this is something Facebook need to consider should they wish for Graph Search to become a viable revenue stream. -

Alex Tyerman

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Search Lately: Issue 74  

The world of search is such a fast paced environment in which it is vitally important to stay on top of the latest developments and stay ahe...

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