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Google+ Gradually Rolling Out Games

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Google made an announcement on their official blog today regarding the games we’ve all been hearing about. They are gradually rolling out games on Google+ and so far, they seem to have a decent selection to get you started.

Google+ is all about sharing, but as they pointed out, sharing is more than just having a conversation. It’s also about playing and having fun, which is where Google+ games comes into the picture. Google wants to “make playing games online just as fun, and just as meaningful, as playing in real life”.

Google+ games gives you complete control over when you see them and who you share them with. Not interested in playing games? No problem. They’ve made them easy for you to ignore.

For a list of games and how to get started, visit the Google blog. Now, pardon me while I go play some Angry Birds. Are you planning on giving Google+ games a whirl?

Google Introduces New Email Feature: Preview Pane

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Google announced yesterday a new Gmail Labs feature entitled Preview Pane. For those of you who view your Gmail on a tablet, they say the new layout should be very familiar to you. (And for those of you not using Gmail, do you need an email intervention?)

It basically allows you to preview snippets of an email while reading and replying to others.

From the official Gmail blog:

When I check my email, I often rely on the message snippets to figure out which messages to open first. Sometimes, though, I want to see more than snippets, which is why I’m happy to announce that you can now preview messages in your inbox using a new feature in Gmail Labs called Preview Pane.

After enabling the feature, you’ll see a button in the top right corner which allows you to switch between preview and list views. And for those of you with more vertical space, you can move the preview pane below your message list.

So far, I found it very simple to use and I like being able to see my inbox while I am replying to emails. I’ll keep using the Preview Pane mode for the rest of the weekend and will draw my conclusion about making the switch after testing it out a bit longer.

Have you tried Preview Pane and if so, what do you think?

Google is Actively Working on Bringing Realtime Search Back

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In July, Google took down their Realtime Search when they could not come to an agreement with Twitter in regards to access to the company’s data. Realtime Search was Google’s way of delivering relevant information, such as breaking news and major world events. Without Twitter, they said “the value the product was providing was not enough”.

During a panel discussion in Mountain View, California, Google fellow Amit Singhal said they are “actively working” on bringing back Realtime Search which will include data from Google+. It seems they think the Realtime Search can be just as powerful and relevant without Twitter results, since the deal has expired and doesn’t seem to be coming back.

When the panel was asked why the Google+ stream doesn’t have its own search engine, the response was “we are on it”.

Do you think Google’s Realtime Search can deliver enough relevant information without Twitter’s stream involved?

 

Google+ Reaches 25 Million User Mark

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It’s been a few days since we’ve posted anything about Google+, but that definitely doesn’t mean it’s slowed down like we first heard.

In fact, the new social network has reached 25 million users in less than a month, according to comScore and engagement on the site is also increasing.

Last week Experian Hitwise, reported that Google+ users were spending less and less time there and that visits fell by 3%. The average time on site had also fallen by 10%, they said.

But, comScore’s research is showing that people spent around 50% more time on the network in the week ending July 24th than the week ending July 10th.

What’s with the recent growth and more time on the site? Andrew Lipsman, vice president of industry analysis at comScore, said during a conference call that Gmail penetration seems to be the key factor. He said, “If you think about it, Gmail is where your social network through Google is likely to exist”.

Are you spending more or less time on Google+ these days?

Google Wants You to Give Your Friends an “Email Intervention”

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If you use Google‘s email system Gmail, I am sure you have seen the “Email Intervention” video at the bottom of the screen as you logged on yesterday. I did, but I didn’t have time to check it out. Come to find out, it’s a new campaign by Google designed to “Save your friends from outdated email”.

The site Email Intervention, guides you through the steps of “saving” your friends from using archaic email systems. Just below the “Start the Intervention” Button it reads: “You’ve probably already improved the lives of your friends and family members by helping them switch to Gmail, but what about that one friend who still hasn’t made the switch? It’s time to take a stand and stage an intervention. Don’t worry. We’ll help you out.”

In only three simple steps you can come to the rescue of your friends who are using “those other” email companies and help them make the switch.

Here’s the video. Enjoy.

Did you receive or try to give an email intervention?

Google+ Traffic Down Last Week

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We knew we would see this coming right?

Google+ grew at such an intense rate (10 million) and it’s all anyone talked about for days. According to Experian Hitwise, Google+ traffic is down and people are spending less time on the site. (I know I am.)

Total Google+ visits fell 3 percent to 1.79 million in the U.S. The average time on the site also fell 10 percent to 5 minutes and 15 seconds.

A rep for Hitwise said this wasn’t a huge drop. These numbers only cover the U.S. and it makes us wonder if other countries are seeing the same trend.

It was just last week comScore reported that Google+ had reached 20 million users. We even saw people completely close their Facebook accounts and move over to Google+. I wonder if they’re lonely?

What are your thoughts on this drop in visits to Google+? Do you think it was just a cool new thing to do but now the coolness factor has worn off a bit?

Update: Check out this statement made by Google stating why this data may not be telling the whole story.

Wajam Adds Google+ Social Search

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Wajam, a browser extension that lets you access your friends’ knowledge when you need it, has added Google+ to its social search. Before, you could see results from your Facebook friends and Twitter followers. Now you can add to that list your Google+ circles.

Here’s what you can do as of today with Wajam and Google+ as listed on their blog:

  • Connect your Google+ profile to Wajam and store the links that your friends have shared
  • View Google+ content directly in your favorite search engine like Google or Bing
  • View relevant search results wherever you go online, such as popular sites like Amazon, Wikipedia, TripAdvisor with the Wajam Everywhere tool bar.

You can now see  posts, links, photos and videos that your Google+ circles share and right when you need it. To start using Google+ social search, simply connect your Google+ account here.

 

Facebook Rolls Out Facebook for Business

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There’s a lot of buzz right now around the fact that your business cannot have a Google+ profile. Businesses left and right have seen their Google+ profiles shut down. It’s not that they’re never going to allow businesses to have a profile page (that would be dumb), they’re just still working out all of the details of what it would look like exactly.

How do you get your business name out there when doing a Google search then? Facebook has the answer. They’ve rolled out Facebook for Business, which shows you how to use Pages, Ads and Stories to get the word out and increase your business presence on the web.

The tagline says “Learn how to grow your business with Facebook’s powerful marketing tools”. Here are a few of the key points and how it works:

  • Build a presence by creating a page, claiming your place and making your website social by adding special features like the “Like” button.
  • Engage your community by joining the conversation, building relationships and gaining valuable insights about your audience
  • Get the word out with ads and sponsored stories

Overall this seems like a great addition to Facebook and I plan on digging in a little more to see how I can improve on what I already have set up with them. If people can’t find you and don’t know about you, what’s the point?

What are your first impressions of Facebook for Business?

Did the Oslo Bombing Show Google+ as a Good Source for Breaking News?

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The vehicle bomb that went off today (Friday, July 22nd) in Oslo, Norway was the first “test” you could say as to whether or not Google+ is a good source for breaking news. It wasn’t that long ago that I wrote how social media was quickly becoming the leading way to communicate during national disasters. At the time of that writing, I was referring to Twitter and Facebook, but we can now add Google+ to the list.

The ability to create a feed is how Google+ can be used effectively for breaking news, similar to Twitter. Google+ user , made a list of people to follow to get your updates on the bombing. And then he asked his followers to add other Google+ contacts in the comments who were reporting from the location. He was able to update with live streaming links and comments as he received more info.

There are still flaws when it comes to using Google+ for breaking news and communication during events such as the Oslo bombings, but being as new as it is and already being seen as a news source, says a lot.

Friday Findings – July 22, 2011

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Friday Findings is a weekly series where I show some link love and bring you interesting stories from around the web. From social media news and viral videos, to news on technology and more.

Google+ To Challenge Facebook for Game Developers With Lower Fees [REPORT] – News of Google’s new gaming platform has hit the web. Reportedly, Google will host games on its own servers, which could make the games faster.

Google Plus Best Practices: Trey Ratcliff, Artist – Google+ isn’t just for the techies. Artist Trey Ratcliff says it’s become his main social platform.

Google+ reached 10m users in 16 days. Want to know how long it took Facebook and Twitter? – It took Google+ 16 days to reach 10 million and Facebook over 2 years. What about Twitter and LinkedIn?

How Much is that Facebook Fan Worth Anyway? – See what one company says the average value of a Facebook fan is. Is it zero? This author says so, until you can monetize on them.

How to Fix Facebook’s New Broken Chat System (YES!) -Are you confused with Facebook’s new chat system? One guy came up with a fix to take friends who are offline, off the list.

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