Archive for April, 2010

Sharing Comes Of Age – Google Toolbar Adds Capability

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Open Share Icon - OpenShare Symbolizes SharingJust a few months ago, Google added a content sharing feature for the Google Toobar. The new button surprisingly promotes usage of a few services which are competitive of Google, indicated that Google is aware that they have sufficient numbers of devoted followers to merit inclusion. Content sharing activities are one hallmark of Web 2.0 characteristics, and Google’s addition of this feature which facilitates bookmarking/favoriting, voting, and sharing activities indicates that it’s important enough that marketers need to pay attention to it in their promotion strategies. (more…)

Invasion of the Pod People: Google Zurich

Monday, April 26th, 2010

I really don’t know how I missed this UFO sighting, but Google’s offices in Zurich are surrealistic and look almost hallucinogenic. This one looks like a scene out of the SciFi film, Invasion of the Pod People“:

Google Zurich: Alien Pod Cubicles

Google Zurich: Alien Pod Cubicles

I’m well aware of Google’s penchant for whimsical office environments — not only have I seen some of the offices at Google Headquarters a few times, but I also covertly photographed the Google Radio offices here in Dallas-Fort Worth, back when they opened next to my office at Superpages:

Google Playroom in Dallas, Texas

Google loves to make their offices playful, giving them a happy, enjoyable atmosphere. They often incorporate bright, primary colors of red, blue, and yellow, which calls to mind their logo colors.

Some have referred to Google’s Headquarters in Mountain View disparagingly as (more…)

[yellow collection]

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

What would you do with 10,000 phone books? [yellow collection] is a site set up to collect ideas on what to do with printed yellow pages books. Some artists have contributed photos of pieces they’ve created involving the color yellow and/or phonebooks.

Yellow Pages Art from Yellow Collection by Petter Palander

Yellow Pages Art from Yellow Collection Petter Palander / CC BY 2.0

Obviously they’re taking it for granted that people don’t use yellow pages to look up business information any more!

Making art from old phone books has a lot of appeal for me — I’ve long thought of using old directory covers to make origami stars for Christmas decorations for my friends who still work in the Yellow Pages industry.

It would actually be cool if YP industry were to create a factory to generate recycled furniture out of compressed yellow pages composite — I’ve seen chairs and tables made out of recycled paper before, and I think doing something so visible and useful would likely provide postive publicity to the ailing print directory business.

In a similar vein, the “Hidden Pizza” marketing campaign by Sensis yellow pages company in Australia used recycled material from their yellow pages billboard campaign to cover seats in the restaurant.

If more were done to diffuse the environmental complaints about unwanted phone books from those who no longer use them, it might have reduced hostility towards the industry. For instance, I do not see/hear nearly as much irritation from people about receiving unwanted newspapers in their yards, and this poses much more inconvenience to me in an ongoing basis than phone books do.

(Image courtesy of Petter Palander / CC BY 2.0)

Google Maps Adds Clickable Icons in Street View

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Google Maps has added clickable icons of businesses and places in Street View:

Clickable Icons in Google Maps Street View

Clickable Icons in Google Maps Street View - example of McDonald's in Carrollton, Tx

The icons are the same clickable icons found when you’re browsing maps of areas and are visible by default. When clicked, the icons pop open a little info-bubble that’s familiar as the same info-bubble boxes which appear over the standard maps view for place marks.

I’ve referred to these icons before as “landmark icons“, and these are generally going to be advantageous for businesses which have them, since they enable people browsing areas via Street View to discover them — yet another potential means of promotion.

In order to have this appear for one’s business, (more…)

Marijuana in Google Maps

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Today is April 20, known as “420” in pro-cannabis circles — a day in which pot-smoking is celebrated in a number of places around the United States. So, I wondered if there were any user-generated maps of 420 party locations findable in Google Maps (only out of intellectual curiosity!). While I couldn’t find any 420 parties there, I did find maps pinpointing places where one can purchase marijuana, such as this map created by HIGH TIMES Magazine:

Places To Buy Medical Marijuana In Google Maps

Of course the locations are for people interested in medical marijuana. A cursory search for places to buy illegal drugs didn’t immediately turn up anything, although I’m mildly surprised that enterprising drug sellers haven’t thought of creating custom maps in Google to promote places where people can buy it. (more…)

Guerrilla Marketing Yellow Pages Down Under

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Or, “How to get the hipsters to use the yellow pages again – give them free pizza!”

Using free pizza to promote the Yellow Pages in Australia

A secret restaurant offering free pizza to any smart enough to find it is apparently a front organization for a guerrilla marketing campaign to promote the Yellow Pages down under. “Hidden Pizza” emerged via a website and some word-of-mouth-marketing, offering free pizza to anyone who can find it for the next two weeks.

Hidden Pizza - Yellow Pages Guerrilla Marketing Campaign

Catch is, they apparently want you to find it a certain way. According to their site’s “Find Us” page:

Finding the restaurant is easy, just look it up the way you would any other business from April 12 – April 25 and the pizzas are free.

The business apparently doesn’t have a Google Maps entry as of yet, but The Age reveals that the restaurant is part of a marketing campaign that’s likely on behalf of Sensis, Australia’s Yellow Pages company.

Kate, over at the Eating Melbourne blog says what I’m thinking: (more…)

Monday, April 19th, 2010

DirtyPhoneBook.comMy piece on “Making Businesses of Negativity” apparently caught the attention of one of the businesses that I criticized,, since they forwarded a Tweet to me this morning of a followup article over on Silicon Alley Business Insider where their CEO had provided a rebuttal letter. SAI had posted an article earlier about them, dubbing them the “Horrifying New Startup Of The Day“.

In the apologetics letter, Peter Green compared Dirty Phone Book with other, better-known social media services, Facebook and MySpace, and he says it’s all about freedom of speech. He goes into further comparison, pointing out hate groups active in Facebook, and tries to say that Facebook is actually worse than Finally, he suggests that DirtyPhoneBook is treated worse by the press than sites Chatrouleette and Facebook because people have some sort of prejudice against he and his cofounders because they are a “stripper”, a “degenerate gambler”, and a “washed-up Las Vegas comedian” instead of being young whiz-kids from Harvard or Moscow.

While he makes a very well-worded case for the business, I’m sorry but it isn’t sufficiently convincing. (more…)

Google Maps Has Fixed The “Escher Effect”

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

A recent quick review shows that Google Maps has cleaned up the “Escher Effect” seen in Satellite view. The Escher Effect is caused when two separate aerial or satellite pics are taken of different sections/plots of a city, and then stitched together to form a continuous composite picture. Each pic is taken from a different angle, so the taller building pictures are taken from different perspectives, causing them to appear to lean toward or away from each other.

Escher Effect of the Empire State Building, New York, NY

Escher Effect of the Empire State Building

The “Escher Effect” is named after the famous Dutch artist, M. C. Escher, who was particularly known for illustrations using optical illusions that often involved perspective and side effects from how perspective is perceived.

When Google Maps introduced satellite and aerial photos, there was a lot of the Escher Effect going on. (more…)

My Photo of Steve Ballmer Published in Metro

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

Edition of the Metro which published one of my photosWhile speaking at SMX West, I photographed Steve Ballmer’s keynote interview.

Just as I frequently do, I uploaded the photo to Flickr, and added description notes to the photos which invited bloggers and news reporters to use the photos in return for an attribution link.

I’ve had photos used frequently in online media, but this is one of the rare occasions when one of my pics has appeared in print media. The Metro, Silicon Valley’s weekly newspaper, picked up one of my photos and reproduced it in their column about Steve Ballmer’s keynote. (more…)

When Being Negative Is Good: Yavoid

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

I just wrote an article criticizing businesses based on negativity, and coincidentally this other “negative” website came to my attention: Yavoid. Except, it’s negative in a good way!

Yavoid - advice and how-to (or how-not-to) articles

There are quite a lot of variations on “how-to” sites out there, particularly in terms of giving life advice. Some well-known how-to sites include eHow, DIY Network, and Ask Answers. However, there’s relatively few that focus upon avoiding problems to begin with.

Enter Yavoid (pronounced “why-avoid”). (more…)