Google+ which made its début 2 years ago has been updated with new features. There are 190 million people active on Google+ stream & 390 million across Google. Google which faced serious competition from Facebook introduced Google+ in a bid to enter social networking space. The new google+ features are great & provide it with the much needed changes to stay in competition with facebook. Some of the new features available on Google+ are
1) Information has been organized across the columns. It can be between 1 to 3 columns.
2) Photos & Videos look richer & they occupy the entire width of the screen
3) When you click on the sharebox, it bounces & also the menus slide
4) Hashtags have also been added to the info shared on Google+. Depending on the post, they are tagged accordingly.
5) Clicking on the hashtag, provides relevent information
6) Hangouts has also been updated with new features & the app is available from Google play, app store & Chrome webs store.
YouTube Trends Map provides a real time information on what videos are popular across the US by city/region & also can be filtered by shares, views, gender & age range. Videos uploaded within 48 hours may not appear in age and gender breakdowns. Hovering over the map, one can watch the thumbnail of the popular video in that region. There is also a bar graph at the bottom of the page showing number of regions where each video is #1. Right now, this is available for US. The Trends Map is based on user response to YouTube Trends Dashboard.
Websites which target globally many countries have usually a dropdown in the home page to select language & country. Sometimes they are configured to point visitors to localized pages by redirects or through changing the content to the user’s language. rel-alternate-hreflang annotation is a new way supported by Both Google & Yandex to specify homepages. This would look like
<link rel=”alternate” href=”http://website.com/” hreflang=”x-default” />
<link rel=”alternate” href=”http://website.com/en-us” hreflang=”en-us” /> Targetted for US
The new x-default hreflang attribute value tells the Google algorithm that website.com is the default page & doesn’t target any country or language. This helps webmasters set x-default hreflang attribute value to suit particular requirements of the country based websites. This can be done through sitemaps or through HTML coding. More info about the same can be had at official Google Webmaster Central blog
With the booming of e commerce in India, several online shopping sites have launched recently & creating a lot of buzz online. These provide the advantages of easy shopping, on time delivery, EMI’s & others. Several big names like Citibank, Google have launched online shopping festivals in India. Citibank’s was called OMG! sale & it was on Dec 5th. The sale had 17 websites & this helped provide value proposition to customers. Customers also had easier access to a wide variety of products at great bargains. Google’s GOSF sale was held on Dec 12 & 50 ecommerce websites had participated in it. Google had also launched GOSF.in website for the purpose of online shopping festival. This provides a great push for e commerce sites as well with good conversion rates. Also coupon codes would provide more discounts as well.
Facebook has introduced graph search. facebook has more than 1 billion members, 1 trillion connections & 240 billion photos. To navigate through these, facebook has introduced graph search. This is in beta now & available in english. Facebook has become the top social networking site. Graph search uses phrases to find the people, places, photos & other relevent information. Some of the examples include movies my friends liked, places my friends visited & others. Graph search follows the current privacy settings. More info about the graph search is available at www.facebook.com/graphsearch
Google’s Zeitgeist 2012 provides the most popular & hottest trending search terms from around the world. There are 838 lists from 55 countries. There is also an android app for Google Zeitgeist.An interactive map has also been added showing the most searched terms across the globle. Some of the most happening events of 2012 topped the chart like death of Whitney Houston, PSY’s Gangnam style, 2012 olympics event & others. Jeremy Lin topped the athletes list & ipad 3 in consumer electronics list.
Microsoft’s Scroogle is an anti Google campaign targeting its pay to rank shopping practices. On the website it is given as “when you limit choices and rank them by payment, consumers get Scroogled”. Recently there was another ad campaign from MS called Bing it on targeting search results. There is also PDF docs in the website showing the respective search site’s position. One can also submit their stories on bing’s facebook page.
Bing webmaster guidelines provide guidance on links, SEO, social media, content & others. These can be accessed under the content guidelines section. Technical part covers robots.txt, sitemap, site technology, redirects & others. It calls out to avoid cloaking, link schemes, social media schemes & duplicate content. They have also introduced Bing webmaster webinars covering different topics during Nov to Feb. More information about the webinars can be found here. From an SEO point of view, it covers all the major important issues.404 pages best practices is also included covering no advt, page returns a 404 status code & smart 404 pages.
With the release of Apple’s ipad tablet, market for tablets is increasing significantly & several android based tablets is being released. This provides a huge opportunity for android based apps for tablets. Google has released a tablet app quality checklist for apps. The checklist has been listed under 10 points & it is a great read for any developer. This would help develop great quality apps. Optimize the layout, use the extra screen area, fonts, adjust home screen widgets & others are some of the points to be taken care of. Complete list can be accessed from here.