Digital Marketing News Update – Google Changes, Facebook Gaffs and Sony’s Music Unlimited

 

Google search improves for desktop and mobile.

Google this week announced enhanced features to improve its search function on both desktop and mobile with a view to moving users towards a seamless experience between the two.

The increase in mobile search has been a key driver for Google to make it even easier to search on the go. For mobile users using the beta version you should start to see a plus icon next to your results which will help users to refine their search without having to type in a new query. This new features recognises the fact that most people still find using a mobile keypad a little awkward.

Google also wants us to start making more use of voice search on both the desktop and mobile devices and has added this function to desktop which it hopes will get us used to using the function wherever we are.

It’s reasoning is that we replicate our desktop experience on the mobile which explains the relatively low usage of this existing feature. Although I suspect there’s also a fair amount of people who don’t perhaps want to speak aloud their search topic in the middle of the street. However it’s particularly useful for people who may have difficulties typing and makes the search engine a lot more accessible which can only be a good thing. Do note though that this function is only available to Google Chrome users so anyone not using this won’t be able to use it.

As a nice follow up to the previously updated suggested search, Google has now launched Instant Pages which automatically starts to bring up search results as you type. So now you don’t even need to hit return when you’d finished and you may even see the result you want before you finished typing in your search term. And if not, then you might spot something which looks too interesting not to stop and check out.

While all of this is great functionality, I think my favourite has to be the ability to search the web using images. You can pop in any image and Google will try and match it to images it has already categorised on the web. It won’t work for individual faces or private homes but if the image is of someone famous or the building is a landmark with plenty of images already on the web then it can tell you where the picture was taken.

This is a pretty nice function for Google to include and has so many uses, I think we will certainly be seeing further updates around image recognition. Facebook is already making use of this for photo tagging and has the ability to discount faces of those who aren’t connected with the user. I’m looking forward to seeing where this one goes.

Give the image search a go with this helpful tool.

 

Sony launch Music Unlimited

The final piece of the puzzle has arrived from Sony this week as they very quietly launched their cloud music service Music Unlimited in the UK. The service started out on the company’s entertainment devices such as TVs, blu-ray devices and of course the Playstation. Now the service is available on most of Sony’s mobile devices via the Qriocity app.

Unlike the other service from the likes of Apple and Google, even the basic access level requires a subscription. The basic level costs £3.99 a month while the premium subscription will set the user back £9.99 a month.

You get a fair amount for your money though, with the ability to sync all music stored on your PC, Playstation, mobile device and most home entertainment systems on the basic service. Premium users will be able to create their own on demand playlists from a vast selection by means of the licensing agreements with EMI, Warner, Universal and Sony as well as many independent labels.

However, on comparison the basic version looks very similar to Apple’s subscription service which is priced at £24 for the year. So it’s difficult to see what you’re getting for the extra £24 you pay for Sony’s service.

However if you want to find out, Sony is offering a free 30 day trial to its premium service, however this requires credit card details and users must remember to cancel before the 30 days are up or you’ll be charged. Usual stuff really.

Visit the Qriocity website for more details.

Like with all of these services you’re still dealing with the issues around 3G availability and I’m not sure I’d want to rely on it being my only source of accessing music when I’m out and about. And even if I did, I’m holding out for iCloud when it arrives in the UK.

 

Facebook gaffs

We’ve been reminded this week that the things we say and do on social networking sites can indeed come back to haunt us. Joanne Fraill used Facebook to contact the defendant of a case she acted as a juror on and has now been handed an eight month prison sentence.

Joanne is the first juror to be prosecuted for contempt of court using the internet and while most of us may be faced with rather more mild indiscretions it still goes to show that while we treat Facebook as a casual plaything, the consequences could be anything but.

As a follow up, the BBC have published an article listing some rather amusing (and not so amusing) incidents of Facebook faux pas.

The list includes slating your boss when they can see your profile, posting pictures of yourself having a good time when you’re off sick, and, my personal favourite, an MP referring to his constituents as “donkey-botherers”. The first two ended up losing their jobs and the last became leader of Blackpool Council. Figures!

You can read the rest on the BBC site

 

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