All posts in “google”

RockMelt: A first look at the social web browser

When I first heard about RockMelt, the “social browser”, I was intrigued. When I found out that I could test a beta copy of it, overly excited would probably be a good measure of my reaction. For those of you who may not be familiar with RockMelt, basically it is a new web browser still in beta, that adds social media like Facebook directly to the sidebars of the window to make it easier to share web items through a user’s social media accounts. After using RockMelt for the last week and a half, here are some of my thoughts.

RockMelt: The Good

Have we met before?

For those familiar with Chrome, you may find yourself doing a double take. When I first launched RockMelt, I had actually thought I accidentally launched my copy of Google’s Chrome browser as RockMelt is almost identical to Chrome, upon first launch. This is because the core of RockMelt is the Chromium open source which Chrome is also built upon. In my opinion, this isn’t an issue as I like the simplicity of Chrome. I was also happy to find that the normal Mac shortcut keys, like CMD+T opening a new tab, worked out just fine without any tweaking.

RockMelt browser

Give that browser a speeding ticket

RockMelt is built using Chromium open source as it’s base. This means that the browser is really fast…like really fast. I like that RockMelt also takes this a step further and works to download/render websites based off the current page and links that you are on to speed up your surfing even more.

Move over Safari, you resource hog!

This is where the nerd in me completely comes out. One of the most impressive things to RockMelt so far has been its memory (RAM) and resource management. Don’t get me wrong, I do really like Safari as a web browser. But when using it for a day means that over a gig of my RAM is locked up in it, even if there are no open websites or windows, something has to change. The image below shows the memory that is taken up after freshly launching Safari and playing one YouTube video with it. In comparison, when the screenshot was taken, RockMelt had been open for 4 hours and had 4 tabs open, one being the same YouTube video. The low system resources needed to run this browser will make it especially appealing to those running devices that may have limited resources like laptops.

RockMelt - Resources

Didn’t your mother teach you to share?

If she did, then RockMelt is the browser for you. My Facebook friends and Twitter followers will attest to the fact that I share a lot of content throughout a day as I come across great articles, comics, and other media. I really like how simple RockMelt makes it to share items from the site that you are on as well as update statuses. From any web page, a user can click on the Share button an be given the option to share out the link or media to their Facebook friends or via a tweet on Twitter.

Similar to the Share button is the easy ability for a user to update either their Facebook or Twitter status by clicking on their avatar on the left edge. This is great, of course, since you don’t actually have to load up Facebook or Twitter in another browser tab to update your Facebook and Twitter statuses.

RockMelt - Share button RockMelt - Status Update

Plugged into the Matrix all the time

The right and left ‘edges’ of the RockMelt browser are the most notable features of the browser. The left side will show a user which of their Facebook friends are currently online and allow the user to chat with them directly from a small pop up window. Users can also create a favorite list of their friends who that actually care are online. The right edge contains an area for the user to put in whatever feeds they would like to keep track of. The top feed shows updates to the users’ Facebook news feed followed by, if enabled, the users’ Twitter feed. Users may also add in any site’s RSS feed for updating. For example, I love movie trailers, so I have the trailers.apple.com feed on my right edge. As new trailers are added to the feed, I’ll receive a small notification that there is something new to look at. When the feed is clicked on, a window pops open showing the latest updates. The user can then click on any update and load the page in the main browser. The right edge is also completely sortable, so users can sort their feeds in any order they like.

RockMelt - News Feed

RockMelt: The Bad

Holy plethora of distractions, Batman!

The most notable downside to RockMelt is one of its greatest strengths. Having access to Facebook, Twitter, and selected feed updates as they happen becomes a distraction that the user has to intentionally ignore. I used to reserve looking at feeds, Facebook, and Twitter to a few times a day such as when taking my lunch break. No joke, the first day I used RockMelt, I had to quit the program and go back to Firefox and Chrome as I was getting way to distracted as I tried to work. I’m much better now as I’ve forced myself to ignore the updates until a logical break point, but having your feeds constantly updated as it happens can be a very tempting thing to look at. If you’re like me and you have a lot of friends who use Facebook and Twitter all day… you can see how one could spend all day looking at the updates. I think for this reason alone, I don’t think we will see that many businesses, outside of the social space and monitoring departments, adopting RockMelt.

Sure, take over my Facebook account

One of the first things that a user is greeted with when installing RockMelt is the Facebook Connect screen before RockMelt will open. After entering my login details, my jaw dropped. I was shown what RockMelt would be given access to on my Facebook account and the short answer is “everything”. I literally almost stopped right there as I follow a pretty strict policy of not giving any application that kind of access to my social accounts due to hacking, bugs, and general concern for some sort of privacy online. In the spirit of testing, though, I made an exception to my rule and granted access. This is a major problem for me, though, as it brings in concerns of hacks or bugs in the system somehow opening my Facebook account up to those with less than pure motives. I would also imagine that this is a full stop, game ending requirement for some people. Unless RockMelt changes how it accesses a user profile on Facebook, I wonder if it will ever become widely adopted.

RockMelt - Privacy Request

No advanced preferences or extensions

Granted, it is still a brand new browser and it is still in beta, but one of the things that I always never was a big fan of Chrome for was being a little too simple. One could argue that simplicity is the point. Since it is built on Chromium, RockMelt can technically install any extensions that are created for Chrome but it basically hides those extensions after install. This becomes frustrating for a user like me as I use a lot of tools for monitoring and stat pulling that require the use of extensions. So it would appear that RockMelt will be a browser for the masses and pros like me will have to use something like Firefox.

RockMelt: The Summary

Overall, after using the browser for over a week now, I can say that I like the browser. Most notably, it is basically a version of the Chrome browser that performs just as fast and adds in some fun and useful social media capabilities. Since it can become quite distracting and doesn’t offer some of the more advanced extension capabilities like Firefox, I don’t see RockMelt becoming the go to browser for professionals who rely on those capabilities. That said, from a consumer/user perspective, RockMelt is a fantastic browser that makes it so you can surf the web and monitor all your favorite feeds and social networks without having to navigate over to other tabs or browser windows. I’m interested to see what features and fixes come with the full official version.

So what do you think? Have you tired RockMelt? Is it the browser for you?

Social Media Roundup for October 8, 2010

Social Networks Preferred Tool for Online News Distribution

This week, CNN, a Social Media Group client, announced the results of a study concerning how online news is shared. The preferred method for CNN’s online audience? Social media networks and tools accounted for 43% of shared news online. Email (30%), SMS (15%), and IM (12%) were also listed as preferred methods, but were not as popular as social media.

The study also indicated that a minority of users are responsible for the majority of sharing:

The study found that 27% of frequent sharers (those who share at least six stories per week) account for the online distribution of 87% of all news stories. The average consumer of online news content shares 13 stories per week and receives 26 stories via social media and/or e-mail.

(Via Mashable)

.LY Domain Shuts Down American Website

The .LY domain, administered by Libya Telecom and Technology shut down American Violet Blue’s website this week, citing an “offensive” image of the writer drinking a beer in a sleeveless shirt, among other reasons.

This may be a problem for other sites using the .LY domain, and there are many.

Libya actively encourages foreigners to register domains in the country, selling them in U.S. dollars on an English language website, and indeed the Libya Telecom representative told Blue “we pride ourselves on being the online destination for many well known websites internationally.” Indeed, one of the most popular URL shorteners on Twitter, bit.ly, uses a Libyan domain, as do a significant number of other popular websites and web applications created over the past few years.

(Via Gawker)

Google Translate Introduces Latin

Graduate students and historians had a reason to rejoice yesterday. Google Translate has added Latin to its list of supported languages. Thousands of books with Latin passages are available in Google Books and can now be translated, although the results seem to be a bit unreliable for now.

(Via Google Operating System)

The Art of Giving Up Control

Today, Maggie participated in a webinar with Charlene Li and Steve Rubel on the importance of supporting social media in organizations. Hopefully you were able to listen in!  If you missed it, check back on Monday, when the recording will be available here.

Social Media Roundup for October 1, 2010

Influence and Popularity Not the Same on Twitter

(via Mashable):

Kim Kardashian isn’t the most popular celeb on Twitter. She’s a couple million followers behind the heavy-hitters of Internet-savvy entertainers; however, she’s accomplished something no other individual celebrity has done: She’s the celeb who gets the most traffic referrals from Twitter.

Kardashian’s stats prove that popularity and influence — quantity and quality — are two different things. And we think the ability to direct web traffic is a pretty big part of influence.

Nokia Ships New Smartphone

Thursday, Nokia began shipping their new smartphone, the N8. Intended to compete with the Blackberry and the iPhone, the N8 is the first to run on the Symbian OS. Also of note is the 12 megapixel camera, in comparison to the 5 megapixel cameras available on Blackberry and iPhone.

(via HuffPo):

Nokia said deliveries would begin immediately for pre-orders of the touch screen model, which had received “the highest amount of consumer pre-orders in Nokia history.” Worldwide availability would be “in the coming weeks” and will vary by country, Nokia said.

The N8, which looks like an iPhone, features a 12-megapixel digital camera with Carl Zeiss optics and a 3.5 inch display. It is built on a new version of the Symbian software with photo uploading connections to social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

SAP & B2B Social Media Marketing Excellence

Our friends and clients over at SAP wrote a great post this week over at Social Media Today. It offers four steps for best practice in setting up a B2B social media marketing strategy.

The Value of Facebook Likers

On Wednesday, Facebook released more information about “likers.”

People who click the Facebook Like button are more engaged, active and connected than the average Facebook user. The average “liker” has 2.4x the amount of friends than that of a typical Facebook user. They are also more interested in exploring content they discover on Facebook — they click on 5.3x more links to external sites than the typical Facebook user.

As publishers work to identify the best ways to reach a younger, “always on” audience, we’ve found that the average “liker” on a news site is 34, compared to the median age of a newspaper subscriber which is approximately 54 years old, as reported by the Newspaper Association of America.

Google Takes Street View to Antarctica

While you probably won’t need to use it very often, it is pretty cool to get a street level view of what’s happening on Half Moon Island. The normal street level view icon of a green man is also replaced with an icon of a penguin.

(via The Daily What):

Social Media Roundup for September 24, 2010

Its a bird, its a plane, its the Social Media Group roundup.

Google Search with My Location Experimental Ad: “Pizza. Pizza. Pizza.”

Via The Daily What:

Google just released this experimental ad to promote geolocation-enable mobile search in which a guy says the word “pizza” for ten minutes straight. Some intrepid soul who managed to tough out the whole thing reports that Easter Eggs abound:

Click on the basketball at 0:42, on the word “azzip” at 1:22, on the fire at 1:47, on the word “Florida” at 4:39, on the horse head at 5:49, on the dinosaur at 6:36, on Santa at 7:58 and on the toast at 9:06.

How long can you last?

[huffpo.]

Social Media for Social Good: Dan Savage Creates YouTube Channel to Help Gay Teens

Michelle’s pick this week is this incredible project:

(via Mashable):

Sex advice columnist and gay rights activist Dan Savage has launched a YouTube channel called “It Gets Better.” He’s soliciting videos from fans who want to provide support and encouragement to gay teens who face adversity, discrimination and bullying in high school.

Savage announced the new channel today in episode 205 of his podcast. He’s also hinted on his blog that further explanation will come in the next issue of his sex advice column “Savage Love.” The channel was created after Indiana teenager Billy Lucas committed suicide in response to bullying from his classmates, who assaulted him with epithets and told him to go home and kill himself because he was gay.

Each video will feature a role model sharing personal experiences that illustrate that life for gays and lesbians improves beyond high school.

Twitter for real-time journalism: Did Mother Jones coverage take it too far?

Hasdeep pointed me to Phil Bronstein’s column at HuffPo:

Everyone’s a critic in the digital mosh pit. But the venerable and politically earnest magazine Mother Jones was accused last week of “retweeting rape.”

So what really happened? And is a “rape feed” something we shouldn’t do, just because it hasn’t been done before?

Mother Jones reporter Mac McClelland, currently in Haiti, decided to live-tweet her day spent with a Haitian rape victim trying to get medical care. The power and immediacy of the real-time, staccato exposition, punctuated with emotion …  was unpleasantly jarring for some followers used to the magazine’s typically lengthy, contextual articles.

Data Mining of social networks: insights in social connections

This article about network data mining from The Economist captured Mark’s imagination:

“Of course, companies have long mined their data to improve sales and productivity. But broadening data mining to include analysis of social networks makes new things possible. Modelling social relationships is akin to creating an “index of power”, says Stephen Borgatti, a network-analysis expert at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. In some companies, e-mails are analysed automatically to help bosses manage their workers. Employees who are often asked for advice may be good candidates for promotion, for example.”

List of the Week: The Seven Best “Why Facebook is Down” Cracks

Over at GigaOm Mathew Ingram compiles seven of the most awesome cracks made during this week’s Facebook outage including this doozy:

Social Media Roundup for July 23, 2010

Are you hooked to “The Book”?

Facebook officially hit the 500 million users mark this week. Hitting this milestone can only mean one thing – people are hooked to “The Book” more than ever.

However, even though users are actively on Facebook, a recent poll conducted by the American Customer Satisfaction Index shows that Facebook ranks in the bottom 5% when it comes to customer satisfaction among private companies. Facebook’s low score is not overly surprising when you consider the recent upsets users have experienced with privacy and interface changes. Although the ranking puts Facebook in the same category as airlines and cable companies – two industries that are notorious for their poor customer service – it shows no sign of slowing down.

Google Image Search gets a lift

screenshot

Google Images got a pretty sweet makeover this week with Google revealing a very sleek new interface on Tuesday. The new image search lets you scroll through 1,000 images at once, making it easier and faster to find the picture you’re looking for. Google has also ditched the text that used to appear under images (you can still find the meta data for most pictures when you hover over the image) making for a much cleaner look.

If you’re still seeing the old image search, don’t worry – Google is gradually rolling out the new tool this week. And if you’re the boss and reading this, you know how much we love you Maggie.


1945-1998 video highlights nuclear history

This video by Isao Hashimoto is a pretty amazing representation of every nuclear explosion that took place between 1945 and 1998. Hashimoto has scaled down a month of time into one second, with each blinking light and sound representing an experiment. While the subject matter is a bit of a downer, the video breaks down the history of this issue in a digestible way. Plus 10 for this amazing communication about a very serious topic.

Emotional spell check tool hits the Internet

Are you guilty of sending emails in the heat of the moment? Do you hit the send button without checking to ensure you haven’t inadvertently told someone off? If so, you may want to give ToneCheck a try. ToneCheck claims it can help you avoid situations that come out of misinterpreted textual communication by identifying the emotional definition of words and phrases. According to studies quoted on ToneCheck, emails are misinterpreted 50% of the time so it may be worth giving this tool a spin. We’ve spent some time with the ToneCheck guys, and must admit that it is good to see our friends from New Brunswick getting so much buzz.

Social Media Roundup for June 11, 2010

Bing Adds Facebook & Twitter Updates

Bing lovers can rejoice! On Wednesday Microsoft launched their social implementation of Bing, which indexes data from Twitter, Facebook fan pages, and Facebook updates that are shared to “everyone.” There is also the functionality to play/pause the feed which will refresh the content or keep it static. The social view of Bing can be found @ bing.com/social.

Google Announces Caffeine

This week Google announced the details regarding their new and improved indexing system Caffeine. The new system will provide more content, and 50% fresher more relevant results from web searches. This is a fantastic update for those looking for the most recent article, stories, blogs posts, or forum threads. Google states that content on the web is blossoming, and to ensure scalability, Caffeine will add hundreds of thousands of gigabytes per day to their web index!  Wowza!

Twitter Announces in House URL Shortener

My momma always said that clicking on shortened links is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get! Twitter has announced their plans to improve how shortened links are viewed in tweets, by implementing their own service. The new feature will shorten links using the t.co URL, but the actual link or variation of the link will be visible within the tweet, which wont count towards the max character count. Twitter hopes this will remove remove the obscurity from shortened links and let users know where they will end up. The new shortener will be rolled out during the summer, and be tested by twitter and developers.

Test Your Focus

The New York Times has released an online assessment that will put your focus and task juggling skills to the test! Living in the digital world of today, our brains are hit hard with multiple stimuli at the same time. Managing the information can be difficult, as Kord Campbell found out when he missed an email that could have cost him $1.3 million. The key is knowing your strengths and weaknesses, as it will help you create more efficient personal workflows. Research has shown that heavy multitaskers have trouble focusing and shutting out irrelevant data, and in turn experience more stress.

Adidas racks up the cameos in Star Wars Cantina 2010

Just in time for the FIFA World Cup™, Adidas has released a new Star Wars themed video for their Adidas Originals collection. It has quickly reached over 2.7 million views!

See if you can spot David Beckham, Daft Punk, Snoop Dogg, Franz Beckenbauer, Noel Gallagher, Ian Brown, Ciara, Jay Baruchel, and DJ Neil Armstrong.

Social Media Roundup for May 21, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mukhtar!

A Copenhagen bus driver named Mukhtar got a big birthday surprise this year – a flash mob of almost 100 people celebrating his special day. Mukhtar was planning to take the day off for his 41st birthday but was asked to take an extra shift for a friend. A candid camera shows how his day ended with almost 100 people assembling to wish him a happy birthday.

The flash mob was part of a five week campaign undertaken by Copenhagen bus companies Movia and Arriva to promote public transportation and driver contribution.

Google TV is here

Yesterday Google, along with Sony Corp., Intel Corp. and Logitech International, announced plans to launch Google TV in the fall. Touted as “smart TV”, the TV will have many customization options to personalize content, with the main goal being to turn televisions into giant monitors for web surfing and increase ad revenue. The televisions will be sold exclusively at Best Buy, but no word yet on what the price tag will be.

Stay in touch with Facebook page rankings

If you’re looking for any sort of Facebook page ranking information, Fan Page List can connect you with the info you need. The realtime site ranks Facebook fan pages and shows how many users are being added each day. You can check out stats for a variety of categories, including products, actors, politicians and TV shows.

I checked out the brand page to get the scoop on the most popular pages as of today:

  1. Facebook
  2. Starbucks
  3. Coca Cola
  4. YouTube
  5. Disney

SMG Connects with the Web Community at mesh 2010

mesh conference, Canada’s web conference was this week in Toronto. We sponsored a pretty cool party on Tuesday, and our fearless leader Maggie Fox spoke to a packed room Wednesday afternoon about The Art & Science of Scaling Social Media. As with the best content at mesh, it certainly got people talking and was covered in posts by Matt Hartley at The Financial Post and David Brown at Marketing.

Pacman’s back!

Social Media Roundup for May 21, 2010 - Social Media Group Helps Business Navigate the Social Web._1274460750769

Pacman has resurfaced just in time for his 30th birthday and Google is celebrating in typical logo fashion. Cruise on over to the Google homepage to see the logo turn into a playable game of Pacman. Happy weekend!

Social Media Roundup for May 14, 2010

What else can we get Betty White to do…

Betty White sure is one popular lady. The former Golden Girls star started making headlines after a Facebook page campaigning to have her host Saturday Night Live (SNL) attracted more than half a million fans. The effort paid off and White hosted SNL this past week, bringing SNL its highest ratings in 18 months. With her successful hosting gig behind her, Betty White fans have turned to loftier ambitions now pushing to have the comedian host the Emmys and the Oscars.

Twitter followers gone wild

Last week Facebook experienced a privacy glitch that allowed users to see and accept or decline other users’ friend requests. This week it was Twitter’s turn to let users take control of follower lists. A bug on the site allowed users to type “[tweet] accept [username]” and force any user to follow them. Twitter jumped on the case quickly and patched up the bug, but for a short period of time, famous Twitter users like Conan O’Brien (who notoriously follows only one user) started to follow a much larger number of people.

Gmail continues to add drag and drop features

A few weeks ago, Google added drag and drop file attachment functionality to Gmail. Now, Google has wowed us again by allowing users to drag and drop images into email messages and resize files on the spot. Only Chrome users can take advantage of this slick feature for now, but Google promises they will soon be rolling out all of the drag and drop goodness to other browsers.

Fix your Facebook privacy settings in 2 minutes

If you’re still not feeling confident about navigating Facebook’s new privacy settings, Huffington Post has put together this video tutorial on how to fix up your settings in 2 minutes. This week, the New York Times reported that Facebook users now have 50 settings with more than 170 options to wade through to fully set up their privacy.

The Web 2.0 Testimonial

Just as 81% of online consumers do online research before making a purchase, organizations looking for partners should do the same (I know that we do – and we also Google all prospective employees, and here’s a tip: if we can’t find a trace of you with Google, we’re not going to hire you).

In the past, firms would have solicited and printed testimonial letters from their customers in order to prove their abilities and worthiness to prospective clients. But writing testimonials takes time, and while we’ve gathered a number of them, I always feel bad about bugging my busy clients to take time out of their day to write something pithy so we can get more clients. There’s also always the spectre of the client asking you to write the testimonial letter yourself, which I have always found awkward (it’s also very unsatisfying).

Instead, what I’d rather see is the spontaneous expression of happiness with our work from a trusted partner.

This tweet was from Scott Monty, Ford’s head of Social Media, and he sent it while we were on a conference call yesterday morning, delivering some very interesting insights to him and the Ford Digital Marketing team.


Thanks, Scott – it’s the testimonial 2.0 – and Google likes it, too!