Category Archives: online

… Like Wildfire

Google Australia’s blog highlights how the terrible fires in the country are permeating every walk of life.

Quite simply, they’ve built a Flash Map, which contains the latest up-to-date information about fire locations and their status from the Country Fire Authority.

Although nothing good can be said about this ongoing tragedy, Google’s reaction is an example of how offline can support online in a more humanised sense, away from ad-campaigns and ideas of marketing ROI. Equally, Google’s power online means that it’s making information more accessible to those who need it, as well as taking the strain away from other websites that are close to collapsing under massive volumes of traffic.

With an increase of recent catastophes, wars and events all being mapped through the internet, it genuinely seems to me that the internet really can call itself a global community… It will be interesting to see which direction this takes in the near future.

Google Water

In case anyone missed it, Google have released their new Earth offering, Google Ocean.

Included in the 5.0 version, it allows users to “swim” around the seven seas, without even getting wet or eaten by sharks.

Nice.

MacLovin’

Quite stressed with too many work-projects.

So, instead of a blog of substance, here’s a 1983 video of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs playing a dating game.

And if anyone gets the McLovin’-Superbad reference, you’re great.

Free Internet For All

The long-awaited Digital Britain report is upon us and one of the major points within it is that the Government is planning to give every home in UK broadband internet access by 2012.

The report also proposed the creation of a new body to deal with the problem of people illegally copying and sharing music and films over the internet.

Highlighting that the UK is a world leader in the digital, communications and creative industries, which are now worth some £52bn a year, there seems to be an emphasis that this could reinvigorate the UK economy.

This in itself is quite concerning, as although these industries can certainly help improve a bad situation, I doubt they can turn things around totally by themselves… No pressure there, then.

Yahoo’s Mixed Finances

Right, so Yahoo beat the analyst expectations (GOOD!), but still posted a fourth quarter loss of some £212m (BAD!).

That’s a lot of money to lose, especially considering Google contiues to lead the pack – Last week they also defied analyst predictions, but still made a profits of £266m. Impressive amounts, but rather worringly for them, it’s a drop of 68% year-on-year.

Returning to Yahoo though, it’s even more depressing. Profits fell by 34% compared to the same period last year. Although they’ve got a new CEO at the helm, (Carol Bartz), who I’m sure actually do a great job in turning the company around, I’m not entirely convinced that her $19m YEARLY salary is going to help improve the revenue streams of the business.

Twitter Flies

Last year, according to Hitwise, one of the fastest growing websites was Twitter.

Over 12 months, the site saw a massive increase of traffic, and the latest data ranks the microblogging site as the 291st most visited web site in the UK, up from a ranking of 2,953. UK traffic to the site increased by a whopping 974% over the period.

Hitwise also suggested that Twitter is likely to be even more popular than the figures suggest, if statistics for people accessing their accounts via mobile phones and third-party applications were included.

As most people who are familiar with Twitter will know, it has now become an important part of the internet network, helpfully driving traffic to other sites. According to Hitwise, around 10% of redirecting tweets send users to news and media sites and over 17% end up on entertainment sites, although I’m interested to see how they accurately measured this. Thoughts, anyone?

Un-Social Networking

Last year, Virgin Atlantic found employees slagging off customers on Facebook. Last week it was Tesco’s turn. Now, Waitrose has found their staff making nasty noises in the online world.

The insults aren’t particularly great – with comments calling customers pikeys, ugly, mad and smelly – which could be extremely damaging to the brand and its connotations.

Waitrose response was that it is “completely unacceptable behaviour. It goes against our codes of conduct which make it very clear that partners who post this type of material are in breach of their terms of employment….The nature of the internet makes it difficult to get content removed once posted, however we do have teams that monitor website activity and will be conducting an immediate investigation.”

Personally, I think responding favorably offline in this way is a great way of ensuring something online can be brought under control. Social media is notoriously difficult to reign in if negative views are floating around – and by reassuring customers that they’re taking the matter seriously, as well as giving off signs to staff that it won’t be tolerated, Waitrose seem to be dealing with this quite well.