Nice ad from the search team: How Google makes improvements to its search algorithm

One of the growing recommendations for clients who are upset by competitors stealing away traffic by bidding on their brand is why not trademark it? Looking at the conversion/goal data you can see, for most clients, a large number of the converting phrases revolve around their brand/trademarks. So, making sure they catch a larger share of this traffic is in the best interest of your clients.

Why enforce your trademark in AdWords?

One of the big reasons is that much of your offline and external marketing strategies help increase the volume of branded search traffic which you can ensure you capture via AdWords. You’ll also find that branded search traffic converts better than generic terms but you get a dual benefit as typically AdWords also uplifts CTR of your organic results. Another reason to enforce trademarks is that it keeps your marketing campaigns from failing when marketers continue to use call to actions in media campaigns such as “Google us” or “Find us online”. These risky strategies are a gold mine for your competitors but if you enforce your trademarks it limits how much they can steal your thunder by just buying AdWords traffic around your brand terms during the media campaign.

External Solutions to monitor brand use?

There are a number of platforms designed to both monitor your trademarks but also how your current affiliates, partners or competitors might be leveraging this traffic for higher sales often at your clients expense. There are certainly valid reasons for allowing a small subset of partners/resellers to use a limited number of your brand phrases in their PPC campaigns but it can be easy to ensure they use “brand” broadmatch negative keywords if you don’t want to bid against them.

Some Advertisers discourage targeting competitors

A new strategy being employed by some advertisers actually prohibit their affiliates/resellers from actively buying traffic around their competitors brands/products so this is another reason why you should consider monitor brand use across PPC. My feelings is the real reason that you might want to discourage buying competitors traffic is that it can start an arms race that drives down ROI for both parties and you blow out your CPC KPIs because your quality score sucks and you both lose out. A longer term issue is that buying traffic around competitors products/services may not always offer the best possible experience for visitors as your products will vary in features/benefits but maybe even quality, and are you that confident in their product?

Official Google AdWords Solutions?

In most regions of the world including US/UK/EU Google will only investigate use of trademarks in text, which does not stop bidding on your brands/trademarks. This is great for business but sucks for trademark holders who find their claims ignored once ad copy is changed to no longer use trademark terms. In a few regions of the world Google will investigate both the ad text and the keywords that are being bidded on, if you are in these regions you might have felt the impact of this on your campaigns.

What are these lucky regions?

  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • Macau
  • New Zealand
  • North Korea
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan

How does this effect me?

Let’s say that you are currently bidding on trademark terms of your competitors because they are a lot cheaper and still offer a very high conversion rate. Once a trademark has been enforced your campaigns will be progressively reviewed and any infringements will be disapproved and all existing ad copy until changed. It can also jeopodise current affiliate arrangements but longer term place roadblocks in your way if you ever want to discuss partnerships once you have been caught infringing on their trademarks.

How can I limit the impact of a enforcement?

One way that is usually effective is to make no changes to the trademark keywords or Ad copy, this avoids the automatic review process but eventually you will find a manual review will notice the infringements and enforce them. Once you have been flagged any infringing Ad Copy or Keywords will be set to disapproved and you will have to look to apply for permission or move on to different keywords or change your Ad Copy.

How can I get around trademark enforcements?

The following method while not ethical is still fairly commonly used if not intentionally to get around trademark enforcements. Google will not allow broad use of trademarks to be enforced so the way to get around the enforcements is to use smart broad match strategies. Another point is that many companies will only have a limited range of terms/brands actually trademarked so by having a great knowledge of their products or trolling what is not covered by a trademark along with some ppc testing you will easily find other keywords to bid on.

  • Example 1: You sell VMware but are unable to bid on brand terms but really want that traffic. I would suggest the creation of an ad group targeting broadmatch terms such as “Virtual Server” with specific landing page for VMware products but would list all their competitors as negative keywords: Symantec, Citrix, Rackspace.
  • Example 2: You license Apache proxy software and are unable to bid on brand terms and want more brand traffic. I would suggest the creation of an ad group targeting misspellings and typos of Apache such as: Apachee, Apach. Since it’s not a common word to all languages I would also look at international mispellings possible with something like Google Translate. Keep in mind that there is a limited amount of traffic for these terms as Google usually understands user intention and offers “did you mean” results and a good Google account manager will catch onto this eventually and can examine these misspellings in a manual review.

One reasonable use of these 2 methods is if a brand/company has given written permission to use their trademark but you are waiting for the rest of the paperwork and approval forms to be process by their or Google’s legal team before you can bid on their trademarks officially.

What about resellers/informational sites?

These sites often managed to skirt around trademark’s as Google views these types of sites as within it’s advertising policies, Google can at their disgression offer a limited invistigation of infringements but don’t expect much.

Their policy covers most types of sites that you would be losing branded ppc traffic to including:

  1. resellers of trademark goods
  2. sale of replacement parts or components
  3. informational sites

This post was mostly written up on my last day of holidays in Karon Beach by the hotel pool, so I was unable to provide some more real world data as I would have liked but I hope you enjoyed it. Hopefully you are able to start more discussions around how you can use trademarks to benefit your clients/campaigns or help your strategies to combat them.

Check out the SEO Tools guide at Search Engine Journal.

AdWords Plays if You Can’t Beat Them Trademark Them!


I’ve been playing the Internet business game since around 1995 and have had many ups and downs, but have had enough downs that I’m now in the position of having to start all over, completely from scratch. The only assets I have is experience in a variety of areas ranging from Perl, PHP, Photoshop, WordPress and the usual suspects.

Posted by jamesagate

Keyword research is an all too often under-appreciated aspect of SEO.

I’ve written a few keyword research posts here on SEOmoz and that’s because I believe it to be the blueprint of any successful SEO campaign.

Here are some of the more common mistakes that I see people make with their keyword research.

#1 – You’re being Unrealistic

"It is better to have a bigger slice of a few smaller pies rather than not getting even a slither of a much bigger pie."

Keyword research appears to be a very straightforward task. You fire up your keyword research tool of choice and find the keywords that relate to your industry with the highest search volumes. Sadly, that’s not the way to do it if you want to see real results.

To many businesses, high-competition keywords are simply out of reach – at least in the short and medium term. Part of good keyword research is about being realistic and selecting appropriate keywords for targeting that take into account the site’s age, current authority and any future optimisation that will take place.

Targeting one word keywords is quite often unrealistic but it may also prove unprofitable – someone searching for ‘Toshiba l670 laptop’ is likely to be much further along in the purchasing process that someone who searches for ‘laptops’ – think about which searcher is likely to have their credit card out already.

There’s nothing wrong with targeting generic keywords, I’m simply saying that if your campaign has limited budget and you need results in the short to medium term then targeting less trafficked, less competitive keywords is a much better way to utilise resources.

Lower traffic but lower competition keywords might not seem as exciting to target but if your website can dominate these areas fairly quickly then you are going to see far more traffic from the search engines than failing to effectively target a much more competitive term.

#2 – You’re looking at broad match instead of exact match

A seemingly simple mistake but one which many people continue to make…

Search volume is of course a very important metric when it comes to keyword research but all too often people make the mistake of looking at broad search volumes rather than the exact match figure when using tools like Google’s Keyword Tool.

There can be a huge difference between broad match and exact match search traffic for example:

There are 135,000 broad match searches each month in the UK for ‘dog kennels’ but only 14,800 exact match searches for the same keyword. Still, this wouldn’t prove particularly problematic as this is obviously still a keyword worth targeting – it would knock traffic and ROI projections way off kilter if you do these kinds of things though.

The real problem comes when you choose to target a keyword like ‘ladies leather handbags’ which has a broad match search volume of 2,400 but an exact match search volume of only 260 – failing to base your research on exact match data might mean you think you are targeting a reasonably well-trafficked keyword when in actual fact, once you’ve factored in data inaccuracies, you could be looking at a very low search volume keyword indeed.

It is widely accepted that Google’s Keyword Tool isn’t entirely accurate when it comes to search volumes but using exact match gives you the best data available when assessing how viable a keyword is to target.

#3 – You’re targeting plural instead of singular

It is very common to see a website targeting the plural version of a keyword but in most cases, it is the singular version of a keyword that people are searching for.

I see this most often on eCommerce websites where the site owner optimises category pages and because they sell more than one product, they naturally focus on the pluralised keywords for example "tablet PCs" which actually gets 91% less searches than "tablet PC".

I will readily admit that Google is much better at determining that a singular and plural version of a keyword are one and the same, but in many cases there are still differences in the search results. Failing to target the singular keyword can be the difference between your search listing being highlighted in the SERPs (=higher clickthrough) and it can also mean your website appears lower (even slightly) than marginally better targeted pages – that could be the difference between making a sale and not.

#4 – You’re ignoring conversion

This one could easily turn into a rant for me because so often I come up against clients who want to rank for [insert trophy keyword] when in actual fact they’d do better (financially) targeting a different keyword or set of keywords. I try to explain that a keyword that brings in traffic is wasted bandwidth if that traffic doesn’t convert. You don’t hire my company to get traffic for traffic’s sake…you presumably hire us to help you ultimately make more sales.

The online world is competitive and it’s only going to get more competitive, therefore making the most of every penny being invested is vital.

This makes conversion and language analysis a vital part of keyword research. The human mind is the only software capable of performing a good quality ‘conversion audit’ of a keyword list because whilst there are programmes out there that can filter and sort keywords to make your life easier, there’s no real substitute for industry experience and SEO knowledge.

There are some very basic indicators for example prefixes such as ‘buy’ might be a clear indicator that the traffic from this keyword is going to convert.

A keyword conversion audit is more complex than that however since each situation and market is individual. I find existing data to be a very useful way to determine which keywords are likely to convert well. If you have goal tracking setup with Google Analytics, you can easily determine the highest converting keywords your site currently gets traffic from, try to identify patterns in your highest converting keywords and then translate and apply this knowledge to other areas of keyword research.

#5 – You’re selecting keywords that are out of context

This is yet more rationale to further humanise the keyword research process because most keyword tools struggle to compute words and their meaning in the way a human would.

For example, a searcher looking for ‘storage’ could be looking for a self-storage centre, boxes and other storage furniture for the home or even professional storage solutions for a warehouse or office.

Opportunities for confused targeting are abundant which is why it is essential the keywords you decide to target are highly-relevant and laser-focused towards what your business offers.

A good way to do this is to search manually for the keywords in Google and see the kinds of results that come up, you will likely be able to get a feel for whether the keyword is applicable to the product or service you intended to target.

#6 – You’re failing to conduct keyword reviews

It is accepted that SEO is an on-going process but rarely are target keywords reviewed and audited. If a marketplace is shifting over time then you would also expect customer search behaviour to develop and evolve over time too – this makes regular keyword reviews essential.

In most markets, I find an annual review is perfectly adequate. Any time period shorter than this and there is a risk that ta
rgeting becomes a bit chaotic with efforts focused on new keywords before results on old keywords have been achieved or evaluated.

That being said, in some competitive and very fast moving markets a more regular keyword review may be required.

The aim of a keyword review is to:

  • Weed out poor performing keywords
  • Identify opportunities and areas for growth
  • Shape your SEO strategy for the future

To do a strategic and actionable keyword review you can use this adapted version of the Boston Matrix that I like to use.

Large brands use the Boston Matrix to assess the health of their product portfolio and to identify where to concentrate their resources.

You can do the same thing for your keyword portfolio.

Sort your keywords into four categories in order to better shape your search strategy for the future.

  • Question marks – these are keywords in areas where growth is likely but at present you’re not getting the performance you’d expect. These are very often untapped keyword opportunities and you should plan how you are going to improve performance on these kinds of keywords.
  • Stars – high-performance keywords and loads of room for growth – find ways to capitalise on growth. My advice is to focus your resources of gaining results in these areas for maximum ROI in a short period of time.
  • Dogs – the poor performing keywords with little or no chance of growth – bin these in favour of other keywords, reallocate any resources to other areas.
  • Cash cows – the high performing keywords that show little opportunity for growth – look for ways to enhance and maintain performance whilst identifying patterns and translating this learning to other areas or verticals.

What mistakes do you see happening in the keyword research process? Please share them in the comments section below…

By James Agate, founder of Skyrocket SEO and a regular SEO contributor to leading blogs and publications across the web.

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The Global Innovation Series is supported by BMW i, a new concept dedicated to providing mobility solutions for the urban environment. It delivers more than purpose-built electric vehicles — it delivers smart mobility services. Visit bmw-i.com or follow @BMWi on Twitter.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is looking to transform the way they develop applications that serve wide and diverse audiences. They are currently running Apps for the Environment, an app development challenge — with a deadline of September 16 — that is meant to encourage the public to come up with new ways of leveraging EPA data.

“The premise for a long, long time has been that the government knows what is best for folks,” says Robin Gonzalez, acting director of the Office of Information Analysis and Access within the Office of Environmental Information. “We collect data from the people we regularly work with — industry — and others and try to put it into digestible formats which usually come out as sets of reports or raw data sets. The EPA has a number of large databases, such as Envirofacts, and is looking forward to “seeing what kind of apps students and developers come up with using our data.”


The Challenge


Gonzalez says this challenge presents a different way for a government agency to operate. It lets the market dictate how years of valuable EPA data can be put to good use.

The Apps for the Environment challenge welcomes individuals, independent programmers and corporate programmers to participate in developing apps for consumers, business-to-business and even government-to-business scenarios (or vice versa). The three categories for entries are Professional, Student and People’s Choice, with one winner to be chosen in each category.

The apps submitted must address one of the Seven Priorities from EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, such as taking action on climate change or building strong state and tribal partnerships. The apps should also be useful to individuals or the community at large. Developers can get ideas from webinars available on the site, which consist of audio interviews, slideshows and transcripts.

Even non-programmers can contribute to the challenge by submitting ideas for potential apps. The EPA’s challenge currently has 90 app ideas on their site, including:

  • An app that would identify nearby recycling centers for disposing household hazardous waste
  • An app that combines air toxics data from the EPA’s National Air Toxic Assessment (NATA) database with environmental public health data from the Centers for Disease Control and National Environmental Public Health Tracking Program to identify areas with high emissions that also have high incidences of disease
  • An app that identifies all available beach advisories and/or closings near a user’s current location
  • An app that allows users to compare the environmental impact of two products, such as grocery and household products

Developers are encouraged to either submit apps based on their own ideas or peruse dozens of app ideas from others. There is even a Hack-a-thon taking place on Labor Day weekend and hosted by American University that aims to bring together developers and teams from universities throughout the area, professional coders, as well as EPA data specialists. The goal will be to develop apps for the competition.


App Contests Are Going Mainstream


While app challenges aren’t new (take NYC Big Apps, the Civic Apps Challenge in Portland, Oregon and even a DC apps challenge called Apps for Democracy), what makes the EPA Apps for the Environment challenge different is that it is national in scope. The EPA challenge also encourages the use of not just EPA data sets but data from other agencies as well.

The EPA announced Apps for the Environment in June 2011 on the heels of another national app competition supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) called myHealthyPeople Challenge — a part of the Health 2.0 Developers Challenge for rapid app development. The goal of the HHS apps challenge was to develop a custom Healthy People 2020 app for professionals, advocates, funders and decision makers who are using the Healthy People initiative to improve the well-being of people across the country. Challenge winners were invited to meet with HHS leadership to demo their apps and to strategize additional development opportunities. The Healthy Communities Institute won the first place prize of $2,500 for its online dashboard that checks the status of all the HealthyPeople 2020 goals in Sonoma County to assess and improve local community health.


The Reward


On November 8, the EPA will present awards to the Apps for the Environment challenge winners in a high-profile event in Northern Virginia. At the same event, the Department of Energy (DOE) will announce details about their upcoming apps challenge. As federal agencies pass the apps challenge baton, they can learn from their predecessors and their own experiences in accelerating the development cycle through crowdsourcing. Additional federal agency apps challenges can be found on Challenge.gov.

Gonzalez acknowledges that apps challenges are a form of crowdsourcing for app development, and while their current app challenge doesn’t include a monetary award, he says the EPA is exploring several models of payment for future app development initiatives.

“We’re looking to streamline the app development process, looking at this as a model that will inform that process going forward,” says Gonzalez. “We don’t expect to get everything for free, obviously, but at the same time we want to do this in a more innovative and more competitive way than exists today.”

Gonzalez says he has a team in place examining how their initial apps challenge effort can lead to future challenges and future app development work at the EPA. The goal is to look for different ways than the traditional model of determining the app they want produced, writing up specs, putting out an RFP, letting vendors bid on it and then picking a winner who then builds the app. By getting the public involved, new opportunities may arise that wouldn’t have come out of the usual RFP process.

Once the winning apps are chosen, the EPA will not own any of the apps. As long as the information retrieved from the EPA’s data sets is not misused in any way, the completed apps are property of the respective developers, who can then market and sell the apps themselves. The challenge winners will be invited to present their apps at the November awards ceremony to an audience that will include representatives from the EPA and other federal agencies, the media and even venture capitalists.

And more apps challenges are on the horizon for the EPA.

“What we currently develop is what we think is best for the public. Our thinking is changing,” says Gonzalez. “We believe that there’s a whole lot of innovative ways to approach development of our applications.”

Apps challenges are the EPA’s move in a more open and inclusive direction.


Series Supported by BMW i


The Global Innovation Series is supported by BMW i, a new concept dedicated to providing mobility solutions for the urban environment. It delivers more than purpose-built electric vehicles; it delivers smart mobility services within and beyond the car. Visit bmw-i.com or follow @BMWi on Twitter.

Are you an innovative entrepreneur? Submit your pitch to BMW i Ventures, a mobility and tech venture capital company.

More About: apps, data, Global Innovation Series, government

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Whether you own a business blog or you’re a ghost blogger doing the dirty deed for a paying customer, odds are you have found yourself sitting in front of your computer thinking, “How in the hell am I going to write another post about [insert your relevant keyword here]?!”

Let’s face it, sometimes the well just runs dry. And since the majority of my business is blogging in the name of other people — as you might imagine — I’ve hit this wall often.

So what can you do to keep going? If it’s your blog, you can’t just walk away, as much as you might feel like it. The benefits of regular blogging are just too many.

And if you’re a ghost blogger, you can’t just email your client and say, “Sorry, Bub, I can’t think of anything to write about.” That’s what they’re paying you for.

So how do you write about the same phrases over and over and over and over without getting completely stale — much less not getting dinged for duplicate content? There’s no easy answer. BUT, I do have a few pointers that come directly from personal experience.

Walk Away

First things first. There comes a time when sitting at your computer becomes counterproductive. You know, when you sit and stare until your eyes feel as if they’re bleeding. Let’s be frank — at this point all you’re doing is wasting time. And time is money and all that jazz…

Do yourself a favor, close that laptop and do something else. It could be business related. Or better yet, take the rest of the day off. After all, we small business owners don’t get many of those, right? Even our days off are usually filled with…well, writing.

Give your brain a little time to relax. I know it seems simple enough, but how hard is this to do? Extremely. In fact, even on my supposed days off, I have trouble not sitting and staring at the TV while my brain is thinking up blog post ideas.

So perhaps the whole walk away idea isn’t the best, but it can’t hurt. Maybe take it up a notch and go take a yoga class. You know, quiet your mind and stuff.

Then What?

I know exactly what you’re thinking right now. You’re thinking, “Hey Chris, thanks for nothing.” Because the advice I’ve given so far really doesn’t solve anything. Sure it may offer temporary relief, but it only does so by circumventing the problem.

And you’re right, sort of. Yes, even if you take the day off, you’re still going to be sitting at your computer the following day trying to think up an idea for your next business blog posting. But I’d argue that you’d be doing it with a clearer head.

Either way, you still need a way to generate some new ideas. Bear with me, I’m working on it. Here’s what I’m going to do. I want to take a look at a company I provide ghost business blogging for. Names and keywords will be changed in order to protect the innocent, so to speak.

I’m going to give you their primary keywords, and them I’m going to list out some of the titles I have used for their blogs. Look closely and let’s see what I’ve done. Ready?

My Mini Business Blogging Case Study

Let’s call the company “Texas Roof Repair.” Their primary keywords are:

  • Roof repair(s)
  • Roofing repair(s)
  • Roofing contractors
  • Roof repair contractors

The rules: One of the keywords has to appear in each blog title.

Not a whole lot to work with, right? All the keywords are practically identical. Yet I have created well over 100 blog posts for them based on the keywords. Let’s take a look at the titles of some of them:

  • 4 Roof Repair Myths Exposed—Ah the old “myths about your keyword” article. I promise you—you can find myths about your keywords easily enough. Just look at the facts about your service or product and twist it into how someone could misunderstand it.
  • How Do Different Roof Repair Methods Work?—Pick a few of the services you offer and explain them. Nice and straight forward. Although, I wouldn’t use ALL of them in one post. Save some for later.
  • 5 Reasons You May Need to Call a Roof Repair Contractor—There’s always a reason to acquire a product or service. Get creative and you can come up with 100 of them. Divide that by 5 and you have 20 posts.
  • Roof Repair to Prevent Mold Growth—Hone in on one benefit of your product and explain it in detail. I look at this almost as ad copy. Although, technically I view all business blogging as a form of ad copy.
  • Why You Should Hire a Professional for Roof Repair—If your business offers a service, you can always benefit from explaining why someone should hire you or another professional to perform the function instead of doing it themselves. Think about it: if you’re a financial advisor, people can benefit from hiring you instead of losing their money investing themselves. If you’re a plumber, people can benefit from hiring you do a job in 20 minutes that will not only take them 4 hours, but also be really freaking disgusting.
  • Roof Repair—It’s Not Something to Take Lightly—This is one of those “oh if you don’t purchase this then DOOM AND GLOOM” sorts. Hey, it works for some people.
  • How to Determine if a Roof Repair Contractor is Legitimate or Not—You can write this one a million different ways. But bottom line, you’re explaining how to find a good service provider by highlighting all the things you do right.
  • Need a Reason to Get Roof Repair? Here’s a Great One—Again, focus on one reason rather than many.
  • What Happens if You Don’t Get Roof Repair?—Spin it on them. Instead of saying why they need your service or product, explain to them what happens if they don’t purchase it. Go worst case scenario here.
  • An In Depth Analysis of Roofing Repairs—This is another way to describe all the methods and facets of your service. Except this one is written more like an official report.
  • Pros and Cons of Roof Repairs—Don’t be afraid to admit some of the downsides to your service. However, turn them into positives along the way with the Pros. Example:

Con: It costs more to hire a professional.

Pro: It keeps you from having to take a day off to try and fix it yourself.

  • The Truth about Roofing Repair—Similar to the Myths one. Kind of an exposé sort of deal. I have fun with these types.
  • Signs That Should Leave You Searching for Roof Repairs—Again, why might someone need your product or service?
  • What Roofing Repair Contractors Can Offer You—Highlight the benefits that result from having a professional do the job for you.

Let’s Stop There

Look, I could go on all day. There are 14 of like a million. But the bottom line is this: there’s always another way to look at a topic. You just have to get creative and approach it from a different angle. Do you ever touch on an idea you explained before? Of course you do. It happens all the time. You just try to add a little something different each time. And space out similar ideas so that they aren’t still fresh on readers’ minds.

Still stuck? Take one of my ideas, mix it up again and insert your keywords. It will work!

But what about when you exhaust all the ideas I presented in my mini case study? Good question. Remember how I said I have a million more title ideas but I don’t have time or space to put them all here? Follow me on Twitter (Chris_HELP) and once this post goes live I’ll start tweeting out new versions of titles for the same keywords.

Hope that helps and I look forward to hearing from you guys!

Check out the SEO Tools guide at Search Engine Journal.

Suffering Blogger’s Block? Read This and Write Away


Google Inc. has reached a $500 million legal settlement with the U.S. Justice Department to avoid prosecution over allegations that it knowingly accepted hundreds of millions of dollars in ads from Canadian online pharmacies. The Justice Department said that the forfeiture was one of the largest ever in the U.S. and represented the gross revenue received by Google as a result of Canadian pharmacies advertising on Google, plus gross revenue made by Canadian pharmacies from their sales to U.S. consumers.




Today’s doodle on Google’s homepage is a nod to Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges, who was born on August 24, 1899, meaning today would be his 112th birthday.

Borges is known as one of the most prominent figures in the magic realism literary genre, and his two most famous books, Ficciones and The Aleph — both collections of short stories – still confound and amaze readers all around the world.

He was also known for writing reviews of nonexistant works by other writers as well as literary forgeries, which contributed to the air of mystery which surrounded the author throughout his lifetime.

SEE ALSO: Where Do Google Doodles Come From? | Top 10 Animated Google Doodles

Although many supporters claimed he deserved one, Borges never received a Nobel Prize for literature. “Not granting me the Nobel Prize has become a Scandinavian tradition; since I was born they have not been granting it to me,” he famously commented.

Today’s Google doodle depicts Borges overlooking a complex imaginary world much like the one from his poems and stories. Among other doodles, which Google has been releasing very often in the last couple of years, it stands out as being one of the most difficult to read.

More About: Doodle, Google, google doodle, Jorge Luis Borges, trending

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We previously discussed the Motorola Mobility purchase and the implications it had on patents, but we only just touched on the implications for hardware control. Now, in the aftermath of the announcement, analysts in a variety of tech industries have speculated what the move may signal for Android’s future. Most notably, some are pointing to the possibility of free or subsidized hardware.

This isn’t the first time this rumor has circulated; when the Nexus One was released, analysts thought much the same thing. The problem is that the Nexus One never gained much traction, probably because it wasn’t subsidized by the phone carriers – and was far from free. The Motorola line, on the other hand, is established and has carrier connections already. Control over the hardware in this regard would give access to carrier deals and brand reputation while allowing Google to further subsidize the cost of the “Google brand” phones to get them to customers for free.

We can also look at Google’s experiments in voice and internet technology; if Google wanted to offer a wholesale deal that gave users a carrier and device all at once, the Motorola deal certainly put them in a better position to do so.

However, that’s all pretty far off into the future, not to mention out of left field. The more important element of hardware control that many are ignoring is how this may speed along app development. The iPhone has been praised for its security and smooth app interface largely because Apple controls both the hardware and software elements. While Google has stated they’re interested in continuing to keep the platform open, having access to the hardware end will allow Google an armada of OS flagship opportunities, the ability to experiment with all level of their smartphones, and may give them a better setup for entering the tablet arena.

[Sources include: Google Watch & Xconomy]

Check out the SEO Tools guide at Search Engine Journal.

Google-Motorola Deal: Signaling “Free Phones”?


When it comes to Google+, one of Google’s strongest advantages is its ability to integrate the service with other key services. Considering the immense success of Plus so far (it’s the fastest growing website of all time), it’s unsurprising that Google is starting to move that integration into place. YouTube is one of the first services that’s seeing a Plus-based feature.

The specific feature? The option to start a Google Hangout directly from the YouTube video. For those unfamiliar with Hangouts, it’s a group video chat feature that Google included in the launch of Plus. Hangouts already allowed you to navigate to YouTube and show the people in your hangout your favorite videos. Now, however, it works in reverse as well. Nested in the “share” button, you’ll now see the option to start a hangout centered around the video. So, when I want to watch Dr Horrible’s Sing Along Blog with a non-specific group of Google+ friends, I can do that.

For now, this works as a “viewing party” feature for YouTube, similar to what we’ve already seen on Netflix. However, the ability to share videos from YouTube on Google+ may work as a solid marketing tool once business profiles are launched later this year. In the meanwhile, the Hangout option also gives Google+ some additional exposure.

[Sources include: PCMag]

Check out the SEO Tools guide at Search Engine Journal.

Google Adds Instant Hangout to YouTube Videos