Google+ Gets Big, Image-Heavy Redesign

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All Google+ users did not have to wait that long to see another major layout redesign, the Senior Vice President Vic Gundotra revealed at the I/O 2013, when Google+ made available the new design and layout of Google’s social network. That’s all the more reason why one should use Google+ now.

The redesign resembled the attractive Google+ layout adopted for its iPad and Android tablet apps in June of last year. It has a three column-wide grid of cards that replaces the long list of photos, posts and comments which currently make up the Google+ stream. Its image-focused design features high-resolution photos and videos take up the full screen width.

One Column View

An option to switch to a one-column view is also available. Google seems to be expecting that by exposing the users and visitors to more visual content at once, they might find something that intrigues or pokes their interests quicker.

Google added 41 new features to Google+ as part of an effort to make it more intuitive and look smarter. Bigger pictures and related hashtags will all help towards that end. The giant search company apparently didn’t just want a new layout for Google+ stream but they were turning it into more of a proper app instead of a website. Included in the new design are some neat and stylish animations that can make using Google+ more fun than before. Clicking on a card will flip it over to reveal comments. And when you want to write a new post, a click on the button on the top right flies a window onto your screen to give you the spot to compose your post.


Google also added related hashtags to the stream to allow users and visitors to share and follow. If say, you’re following a sports team, Google+ will tag it for you by adding #SFGiants, for example. Or sharing the new Google+ may be done #googlepluslove. Alternatively, you can always speak your mind using the Google+ official page with the Google+ community manager or with the Google Feedback feature in Google+.

google+ for mobile

Auto Awesome

Google also made announcements on a series of features to improve photos. There’s “auto awesome” which uses a set of photos in your library to create an animated GIF. Google says it can do a lot of enhancements on the photos through “auto awesome”. There’s “auto enhance” which improves the quality of your photo with a click of a button, making auto adjustments on contrast, brightness, focus, saturation and other elements that make a high-quality and fantastically-rendered photo.

Auto Backup

And there’s also “auto backup” which is also known as instant upload. This feature will automatically backup mobile pictures immediately after they are taken. And for all of these enhancement features, Google gives you a place to play around with it before doing them on the actual pictures.

In addition to all photo-related features, Google’s messaging service Hangouts is integrated into the Google+ redesign, releasing Hangout apps for iOS, Chrome and Android. Full streamlined platforms get rid of the messy Google Talk, Video Hangouts and Google Messenger. This is a long-overdue change that Google users will definitely welcome.

With these changes and redesign features, Google hopes to attract users to Google+ just like other social media sites attract users to their platforms.

Google Keep

Google is bent on not stopping at giving its users more reasons to stick with it. Around third week of March, 2013, Google shook up the cyber world when it relaunched its old Notebook service as the new “Keep”. The note-taking service is currently dominated by Microsoft’s OneNote and Evernote which save text, web links, audio recordings, and photos in an organized manner. This application is equivalent to a life organizer, managing day-to-day errands and tasks at work and can be used regardless of the device being used that has access to the Web and Android.

Google’s Keep is now available for devices running on Android 4.0.3 and up. Alternatively, it can be accessed through the Google Drive web site, which will automatically sync the Web and the Android app.

Google Keep Features

It just takes installing the Android app to select the Google account you want to use with Keep and you can begin keeping your notes. Google’s Keep has four ways to use and enter a note:

  • Directly from the text box on the initial screen

  • By tapping on the check mark icon, you can add a checklist

  • By tapping on the microphone, you can create voice memos which are instantly transcribed. Both the audio and text can be stored in the note

  • By tapping on the camera, you can add a photo as a note

If you want to add a checklist to an existing note, you can tap on the menu button and select “Show Checkboxes”.  Also, colors can be assigned to notes by tapping on the color palette at the top of the screen. Color coding will come in handy when trying to organize notes. However, this can only be done manually. When creating categories, it will be best to assign a color for each category.

Adding a photo to any existing note can be done by tapping on the camera icon along the top of the screen. However, this function is limited to the photos taken at the time it is added. The function does not allow adding previously snapped photos from the gallery.

To archive notes, you can swipe in either direction across the note while tapping and holding on a note and dragging it anywhere you want is how you can re-arrange your notes. Similarly, the layout between multicolumn and single-column view can be done through the menu.

Two widgets are included with the app. The first widget is for creating notes with using a shortcut bar as you scroll through your existing notes from the home screen. On the other hand, the second widget is only a shortcut bar.

Keep has a powerful bookmarking tool. With its uncluttered interface, you can easily focus on a quick task, dictate a memo or a message, or even snap a photo. If you want to save a site, you can click “share” link where a preview image can also be saved. Unfortunately, this bookmarking feature is only available on the mobile app, and not on the web app, as of yet.

Apparently, for some Google users, Keep is the best way to keep organized despite some limitations. The fact that Google Keep has emphasized simple functions, auto-saves and can provide reliability, Google Keep users are bound to enjoy its reliability as a note-taking application.

Image Credits: Google Images

Shodan: Breaching Security Systems Through the Internet


Where the name was derived, SHODAN means Sentient Hyper-Optimized Data Access Network – the villain and fictional artificial intelligence in the cyberpunk role-playing games (RPG) namely System Shock and System Shock 2.

The name Shodan was used by John Matherly when he created what is now considered the scariest search engine on the Internet. According to Matherly, it is simply not true that if Google can’t find stuff on the Web, no one can. In fact, Shodan navigates the Internet’s back channels which, is very much unlike Google which crawls the Web as they search for websites. Shodan is said to be a ‘dark’ kind of Google which looks for webcams, routers, servers, printers and all the peripherals and stuff connected to and that make up the Internet.


Shodan: Collecting Information from Everything Connected to the Net

Shodan, running 24/7 has the ability to collect information on about 500 million connected devices and services every month. And they’re all interesting stuff – traffic lights, home automation devices, heating systems, and security cameras, if connected to the Internet will be easy to spot.

So far, using Shodan, searchers and cybersecurity researchers were able to:

  • Find control systems for a water park, a hotel wine cooler, gas station, and a crematorium

  • Locate command and control systems for nuclear power plants and a particle-accelerating cyclotron

Judging from these great “finds”, what would really be noteworthy about Shodan’s “locator” ability is that very few of those devices have any kind of security built into or around them, which indicates a massive security failure, as attested by HD Moore, chief security officer of Rapid 7 who uses a Shodan-like database privately for his own research.

If you make a quick search for “default password”, you will be shown search results of countless servers, printers, and system control devices that use default passwords as “admin” or “1234”. Some connected systems don’t even require password. With just a web browser, you are able to connect to them without difficulty.

Some other results obtained by Dan Tentler, an independent security penetration tester when he used Shodan include:

  • Finding a car wash that could be turned on and off

  • Finding a Denmark hockey rink that can be remotely defrosted

  • Finding a city’s entire traffic control system that can be put to a “test mode” with one command entry

  • Finding a control system for hydroelectric plant in France with two turbines generating 3 megawatts each.


Scary Picture of Shodan’s Power

Do you get the picture? It’s very scary and seriously alarming. What if Shodan is used for other purposes? And why are those devices connected with almost no security? If any consolation, there are some things that are designed to be connected to the internet like door locks that can be controlled using iPhone are believed hard to find.

What’s probably more alarming is how people are being careless and negligent when it comes to security consciousness. Most of the devices make use of systems that allow remote control or manipulation from a remote place. If done right, the device should run on its own server and not plugged directly into a web server which practically shared the device and the system with the rest of the world. If done this way, where the rest of the world can gain access to the device and the system, you can’t really talk about security. They don’t have business to be on the Internet in the first place.

Having seen such vulnerability, Shodan creator Matherly made sure that Shodan is almost exclusively used for good purposes. After completing his pet project three years ago, Matherly limited the searches to just 10 results without an account and 50 with an account. Matherly places his personal involvement if someone wants to see what Shodan has to offer. He requires more information about the intents and purposes of such search with corresponding payment.

In the event that cyber criminals have turned their fancy in blowing up a building or shutting down a city’s traffic light system, Shodan is expected to be used to avoid such scenario by spotting the unsecured, connected devices and alerting those operating them on their vulnerability. Hopefully, the detection will be quicker than the cyber criminal’s identification of potential target unsecured devices and systems. In the meantime, attention should be directed to those devices connected to the Internet that are bare and open to security attacks.

Meta description:  Shodan, said to be a ‘dark’ kind of Google, has the ability to collect information on about 500 million connected devices and services every month. This poses security problems for unsuspecting operators who had their system wired to the internet.

Image Credits: Google Images

The Satisfaction Algorithm

user satisfaction

All webmasters will agree that all the algorithm updates, all the ranking signals used by Google are intended to serve just one purpose – to satisfy the user. Google has never stopped and is continuously finding ways to give the best search results for the users. And most of these efforts are geared towards achieving that goal. This makes ‘Satisfaction’  an actual ranking factor.

But not like the other ranking factors, satisfaction as a ranking factor is difficult to measure as it is based almost entirely on Google’s own internal data. And that is something Google is not willing to share. With that unknown, one can only surmise what metrics Google use to evaluate the performance of its own search results. And it looks like Google and other search engines place so much importance in satisfaction when ranking a website.

measuring satisfactionMeasuring and Predicting Satisfaction

  • Understanding User Behavior in Search Results. A description on how Google engineers discovered how to improve search results is contained in the excellent book “In the Plex” by Stephen Levy. That portion on the book explains the “pogosticking” practice or behavior manifested by the users. This means that users click on a search result, then “pogostick” back and forth between the search results pages and the different websites, searching for the page that will make them stay long because they found the information they were looking for. If users go to the next page of results, it could signal that they are not happy.

  • Search Quality Raters. Google’s Search Quality Raters evaluate search results using the abbreviated copy of Search Quality Rating Guidelines which was released in 2012. Quality raters assign the highest score to a page as “useful”. This means that the pages are of high quality and relevant to the search query. In addition, the pages should be authoritative, entertaining, recent or current and highly satisfying. If the webpages are well organized, they might end up with a “useful” tag.

  • Panda. Google is given by Panda the ability to predict satisfaction instead of evaluating results. Google patterns it after actual human surveys and apply it to every site in its index. Every few weeks, Google updates the index with new data based on Panda’s predictive tool.

Every Marketer’s Goal

While it’s obvious what Google is looking for after all these years, that is, to satisfy users  with the search results, search marketers and webmasters should target the same goal by:

improving satisfaction

Improving User Satisfaction

A few ways to improve visitor satisfaction and earn praises from Google include:

  • Using Google’s free website satisfaction surveys. The recently released free customer satisfaction surveys can be embedded in the websites. This will help get feedback about visitor satisfaction.

  • Removing barriers to make the site more accessible for both the search engine robots and the users.

  • Speeding up loading of the page can definitely make a user satisfied with the site experience compared to pages which take years to load up.

  • Empathy. By putting yourself in the shoes of the users or visitors, you are a step towards satisfying your users or visitors. If you are the user, you would want a comprehensive reference material with answers to their questions, relevant links and resources to click for verification or cross referencing, and with surprises and extras here and there.

  • Linking out can increase user satisfaction and this is according to AJ Kohn in his SEO article “Time to Long Click”.  By linking out to other valuable resources, you are fully satisfying the user’s hunger for information. Having those links or long clicks will keep your visitors wanting for more so they’d come back repeatedly on the site in search for those links.

In summary, it’s all about satisfying robots and the users or visitors.

Images via Google Images

Relevant and Personalized Tweets’ Now a Part of Yahoo News Feed

tweets now on yahoo feeds -- SEO company Philippines

Another important milestone for Twitter and Yahoo happened last week as Yahoo announced its partnership with social media giant Twitter in a bid to integrate tweets directly into Yahoo’s home page’s news feed both on web and mobile. This was following February’s re-launch of the front page where the redesigned site increased emphasis on personalization and a more modern design. 

Yahoo’s Personalization

Yahoo’s mission on personalization is apparently the company’s focus as Yahoo aims to “seamlessly include relevant and personalized tweets alongside stories from Yahoo! and other sources.” Yahoo’s CEO, Marissa Mayer calls it #bestoftheweb.  It’s apparent that Mayer is campaigning towards Yahoo becoming a more personalized experience. And this partnership with Twitter is just one of the personalization plans in the pipeline.

At the beginning of the year, Mayer, in an interview with Bloomberg, talked about developing powerful and strong personalization technologies through the “interest graph”. Referring to dominating organizations such as Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook, Mayer says, there is always an opportunity for distraction. This partnership with Twitter may just be the one.

One can easily draw conclusions as to the direction of Yahoo towards the personalization paradigm based on its recent deals and announcements, the latest of which is the homepage revamp back in February.

Other indications of gearing up to reinventing itself under Mayer’s leadership include launching well-received apps like a revamped Flickr and its new Weather app for iOS which may be one of the highest rated iPhone applications, gobbling up startups and paring down its scattered lineup. 

How It Works

Yahoo news feed offers an endless scrollable stream of content and tweets will now appear directly on these feeds. Yahoo divides its news feed into sections like “News”, All Stories”, “Local”, “Entertainment”, “Sports” and more. Headlines coming from Twitter accounts will be indicated by referencing the source by its Twitter handle, e.g., @ABCWorldNews instead of ABC News. Expectedly, there will be “follow” buttons to the right of the stories which will allow users to click to add the news organization to their Twitter feeds.

Politicians, media outlets, celebrities and other publishers can release their updates and they will become an important source of real-time news and information. With Twitter’s 140-character limit, athletes can connect with their fans, inspire global debate and capture live chatter from the red carpet.

Twitter Update is Part of the Plan

Mayer had indicated her plans for the company as executed in a series of sprints that focus on different areas of importance. This was evident during Yahoo’s 2013 Q1 quarterly earnings call in April.

The first completed sprint was about building the culture and talent at Yahoo. This will be followed by the next sprint which is about delighting users of Yahoo with new features “making continuous improvements and adjustments over time.” Mayer also indicated plans on Yahoo’s products which will be released with small changes much more frequently. And signs are showing up that Yahoo’s Q1 financials to be going up since Mayer assumed her post as CEO in summer of 2012.

The integration of Yahoo and Twitter is currently rolling out all over the United States for mobile and desktop users. Anytime soon, you will see tweets in Yahoo’s news feeds which could only mean that the rollout is done and successfully working in your area.

Google Glass Specs Revealed

Google Glass Specs -- internet marketing Philippines

Since its first appearance, Google Glass remained an innovation of little or unknown specifications. No one really knew about the head gear’s so-anticipated futuristic details. Finally, straight from Google’s HQ in Mountain View, California, the technical specifications are out in the open. For one, Google Glass will now be commercially called as “Glassware”.

The futuristic head gear’s frames are equipped with 16GB Flash memory – with only 12GB as usable space; 5 megapixel camera, 720p video recording, Wi-Fi b/g, Bluetooth and a battery which is said to last 1 full day for typical use. More details of such tech specs are below:

  • Camera. Google Glass can take 5 megapixel still photos and can shoot 720p videos.
  • Storage. Google Glass has 12GB of usable memory, synced with Google’s Cloud Storage for a total of 16GB.
  • Display. The Google Glass’ high resolution display is equivalent to a 25 inch High Definition (HD) screen from eight feet away.
  • Audio. Bone conduction Transducer.
  • Fit. It has adjustable nose pads and durable frame that fits any face. Extra nosepads in two sizes are also available.
  • Connectivity. Google Glass is Wi-Fi – 802.11b/g and Bluetooth enabled.
  • Battery. If fully-charged, Google Glass will last for one full day of typical use. If using some features such as Hangouts, video recording will require more battery usage, thus reducing battery life.
  • Charger. A micro USB cable and charger is included. Glassware is designed and tested with specific charger in mind – Google Glass’ life cycle is preserved long.
  • Compatibility.  The unit is compatible with any Bluetooth-capable phone. A companion app, “MyGlass” which enables GPS and SMS messaging requires Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich or higher.

While the technical specs of Google Glass have already been released, the technology giant’s innovative wearable computer is not commercially available yet. Google Glass is designed to perform tasks similar to those performed by smartphones. The only difference being the ability of Google Glass to respond to voice commands instead of fingers manipulating a display screen.

The hands-free eyewear allows the user to take pictures or record video anytime, anywhere. Internet searchers will only need to issue voice commands for specific piece of information needed.

To sum it up, Google Glass has everything a tech-savvy person will surely enjoy. But that’s not all there is to this revolutionary gadget. Google is now working on the design of Google Glass for prescription frames. This will give those who wear prescription glasses the opportunity to wear Google Glass.

The Google Glass design is made modular to allow adding frames and lenses that match the person’s prescription. The Google Glass prescription frames are expected to be out in the market later this year.

To fully grasp what this high-tech glass can offer, you can refer to this article.

The Future of SEO with Penguin 2.0

Penguin 2.0 -- internet marketing outsourcing

When Google’s Matt Cutts first made the announcement about the coming of a new Penguin generation in March, webmasters have been on their alert mode waiting when Penguin 2.0 will hit the Google search results. Apparently, Google officially started rolling out Penguin 2.0 on May 22, 2013. With such roll-out Cutts expects for the new Penguin 2.0 to have a significant impact on web spam. Instead of just looking at the home page of a site, the new Penguin goes much deeper, with big impact on small areas. Cutts said that the new Penguin 2.0 will affect 2.3 percent of English-US queries and even non-English queries as well. According to Cutts, the scope of the Penguin webspam algorithm varies by language. He said that languages with more webspam will definitely feel the impact of the new Penguin.

Penguin 2.0 is more of an internal reference because this is an updated algorithm and not just a data refresh, the fourth Penguin-related launch which Google has done. It is a webspam update dedicated to finding and addressing black-hat webspam. Penguin 2.0 is a lot more comprehensive than Penguin 1.0.

What this update means for white-hat SEOs is nothing as heavy an impact for black-hat webspams. Cutts basically emphasized that webmasters should keep making great sites that users love that they will want to tell their friends about. Sites are encouraged to compel website visitors to bookmark it, come back to it repeatedly, subscribe to it, etc. The goal is to make it known that your site has a lot of good and quality information to offer.

What-hat SEOs will be supported by Google in promulgating white-hat practices as they work hard to make certain that your quality content shows up in the search engines results page for users to find, visit and consume. That’s Google’s end of the bargain. For the webmasters, they should work hard in making certain that their sites have what it takes to please the users.

Google Penguin History -- SEO company Philippines

Cutts briefly outlined what SEO webmasters can expect from the new Penguin 2.0 throughout the summer of 2013. They are:

  • Penguin 2.0 targets Advertorials. This includes paid advertising that violates Google’s Quality Guidelines. If someone pays for coverage or advertising, those ads should not flow pagerank. Google is determined to be stronger in enforcing this change as a move forward. Pagerank is not something that should be bought or sold. Advertorials are okay for as long as they don’t flow pagerank and that there should be clear and conspicuous disclosure so that users would know that something is paid and not organic.
  • Google is also working on ways to deny the value to link spammers. Cutts said they are working on a different system that does more sophisticated link analysis.
  • Google still continues to work on hacked sites by trying to detect them better through a more next generation of hacked site detection that is more comprehensive, and trying to communicate better with webmasters. Google is looking at establishing a one-stop-shop where webmasters can go and report if their sites have been hacked, use appropriate webmaster tools that will point them to the right way of cleaning their hacked site.
  • Google will give higher value in terms of pagerank for authority sites detected which they determine to be genuinely authoritative in their niche.

To sum it up, the new Penguin 2.0 will not so much affect webmasters that are following Google’s guidelines in terms of white-hat SEO practices. The new Penguin update is more targeted at webmasters that continue to violate the Quality Guidelines of Google and who have completely junked white-hat SEO practices and opted for the spammy practices.


FirstQuarto -- best development company Philippines

Blogs on almost any topic have flooded today’s online world. And still, online users can’t get over wanting for more, for newer contents. So where can you find new contents or blogs on interesting and unique subject matter? And if you are the content creator, how can you get your blog to people who are hungry for new information? With millions of blog sites afloat on the World Wide Web, what boundary or time zone do you have to cross over to get to the other side where people can enjoy your original content, and eventually share it with other people?

There is only one answer to that – FirstQuarto. This was developed by an IIT Delhi graduate, Prasenjit Singh, that allows users to post original content in the form of articles, opinions, commentaries, blog-posts, reviews, etc. and lets fellow users to rate, share and publicize your contents. FirstQuarto provides email and Facebook login to the site. Pass the authentication process and you’re directed to FirstQuarto’s home screen right away.

There are four major sections on FirstQuarto’s home screen, namely Top; Latest; Bistro; and Write. 

The “Top” Section

This is where you can find the most popular articles based on ratings and comments by fellow users. You can check the articles for ratings, followers, comments, etc. If you want to read the articles at a later time, one click is all it needs. 

The “Latest” Section

This feature is more or less similar to the “Top” section. Clicking “Latest” button will get the system to pull out all the latest articles and their relevant details. 

The “Bistro” Section

This is where activities of the community you follow on this network are displayed. Click “Bistro” and you can view all the recent activities sorted by “ratings”, “followers”, and “comments”. Most visited articles appear on top to let you know what the people in your circle have been busy with recently. 

The “Write” Section

This section is where the obvious is done – writing your content and posting it in the editor. It’s a comprehensive editor with all the features you need to edit your piece, including posting anonymously. It also has a feature that allows you to tell people you’re not up for any rating for your article. Unchecking the option in the editor will stop the rating activity.

With all four sections on the home screen, you think you have accomplished your mission – to be able to share your new blogs to like-minded people. Not quite. FirstQuarto allows you to link your existing blogs and follow categories based on your declared interests. So, if you are into global warming stuff, you can select the category, read the articles and follow bloggers with same interests as yours.

FirstQuarto also allows users to be flexible with messaging and creating profile where your snapshot, personal details and activities are provided, including all articles posted, rated, categories following, number of followers and following. Individual profiles can be manually updated, or to make things easier, just connect via Facebook and your profile details are fetched from your Facebook account. 

The Challenges

Developers of FirstQuarto are focusing on adding more features to the site and building up its user base, which may not be that difficult to achieve considering the different platform it offers to users. The biggest challenge would be avoiding copyrights infringement and plagiarism even as it encourages creating and posting only of original contents. It has a feature called “automated checkers” already incorporated into the system to take care of these concerns. Hopefully, it will be enough safeguard against duplicate or copied contents.

Another challenge would be against Floost, which practically has the same features plus a fantastic design. But FirstQuarto’s networking ability far exceeds Floost and other blogging networks like IndiBlogger and Blogadda. What would be interesting to see are the new features the network will strive to bring in the future to keep its position strong.


Neighborhood Registration -- social media outsourcing
Social networking is like interacting with your neighbors. You communicate with them; tell them a bunch of stuff about your activities, or the children, or your husband, or what have you. They’re your neighbors – you ought to know them, and they ought to know about you, right?

A new “private” social network is brewing with the grand objective of connecting you to your neighbors online, and yes, offline, too. It could have been set off by the fact that in today’s world, most people don’t know their neighbors at all, or don’t even have a way to contact them in case of an emergency. And this new social network, NextDoor hopes to use the social media platform to redefine the concept of neighborhood or community. 

The Concept of Neighborhood

NextDoor embraces the idea that the neighborhood is one of the most important communities in a person’s life. It recognizes the many ways neighbors can help each other, and NextDoor was pretty much born from that concept. This California-based Menlo Park startup NextDoor was founded by Nirav Tolia, a tech industry expert. NextDoor was founded in the fall of 2010 and launched in October of 2011. NextDoor allows neighbors within certain regions to create private websites where they can post local information and events for everybody’s consumption. Neighbors can exchange information as a way to getting to know each other better. It serves as a meeting place for neighbors to interact in even the most trivial need like borrowing a ladder to the more serious information sharing about current events happening and exchanging business recommendations. The venue welcomes just about anything useful to be shared with each other. 

NextDoor Registration Verification

Registration on NextDoor requires real name and real physical address as these data will be verified in one of four ways:

  • A postcard will be sent to the address with a unique code
  • A phone call will be made to a listed number at said address
  • Linking the person to the billing address of the credit card registrants are required to provide
  • Providing invitation from a previously verified neighbor.

This methodology was apparently inspired by Facebook in its early roll-out days when it required specific email addresses to allow people to access university-specific networks within Facebook. In the end, despite the initial hostile reaction, people felt more comfortable.

After passing verification, approval for membership will be granted along with the access to an array of information including message boards, maps, even a lost and found corner, and all of these are loaded up with information shared by like-minded members of the community. 

Neighborhood Registration

The network size is set up by the first person to add the region to the site. This is done using a drawing tool provided by NextDoor allowing users to mark their neighborhood boundaries over a Google map. Boundaries are expected to change as the group grows to a typical network size of about 50 to 20,000 households. But this, of course will depend on the density of the geographic region. 

The Concept of Neighborhood -- SEO outsourcing company
Is there a Place for NextDoor in the Social Media Community?

Following its launch in 2011, a lot of people expressed skepticism on how NextDoor would fare in the market considering a number of social media sites already dominating the market. It was as if, NextDoor didn’t really have a space in social networking to thrive let alone survive the competition. Apparently, the company sees it a different way – believing that the unique relationship among neighbors is not a reason to hook up in Facebook or add in Google+ Circles, but a good reason to hook up in NextDoor. For this reason, NextDoor integrates a feature allowing users to print semi-custom flyers to invite neighbors to join the site. NextDoor will also send personalized postcards to a user’s neighbor on his behalf.

Technorati, a tech blog site says that over half a million messages are posted daily, practically on anything – from missing dogs to babysitter referrals, to garage sales and other stuff. There are over 8,000 US neighborhoods already registered with NextDoor, and according to Tolia, about 40 neighborhoods are added every day. If the trend continues, NextDoor is looking at an international expansion soon.

NextDoor’s new features also allow police and fire departments to blast urgent updates to members via text message. A recently retired assistant police chief of Ventura, Quinn Fenwick said that NextDoor is being used by the city’s force to broadcast weekly crime statistics. According to Fenwick, the city force draws more residents than the department’s usual neighborhood watch campaigns. The increasing awareness it generated cannot be dismissed and other neighborhoods can use NextDoor for similar purpose. 

Who are the Giants Behind NextDoor?

There are a few business giants backing up Nextdoor through a $22 million funding. Investors include Benchmark Capital and Shasta Ventures; Zillow’s co-founder and chairman, Rich Barton; Greylock Partners; Google (GOOG) Ventures; Bezos Expeditions – the personal investment firm of Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos. NextDoor’s current registration figures is highly attributed to this huge capital infusion. 

The Future for NextDoor

Currently with 22 employees, NextDoor makes no revenue at this point although it plans to generate revenue by allowing local merchants to advertise their products and services on the site. At this time, Tolia said that the company is not focused on producing profits. That would come in eventually. They simply appreciate the rapid adoption of NextDoor by neighbors across the country.

Greylock’s Managing Director, Mr. David Sze said his firm’s investment of more than $15 million in the new round is the single biggest check he has written in a round of financing. He sees real potential for NextDoor to be another Facebook or LinkedIn, very soon.

NextDoor can easily be the social network for any neighborhood as it has all the elements of being the next great socially-valuable network.

The Google Glass


Google Glass -- outsource social media


Sometime in February 2013, Google started a social media campaign for Twitter and Google+ users, asking them to share their ideas on what they would do if they had Google Glass – Google’s latest technological innovation through the futuristic, Internet-connected glasses which display digital information right in front of the user’s eyes. The campaign hopes to select the best response who will in turn receive the Explorer version of the Google Glass.

Google Glass is described by Wikipedia as “a wearable computer with a head-mounted display or HMD developed by Google in the Project Glass research and development project”. The ultimate objective of the project is to produce a mass-market universal computer. It’s basically a computer worn on your head which can provide you with the information you need in a smartphone-like but hands-free format. The smart thing about Google Glass is its ability to interact with the Internet through voice commands.

The Explorer Edition of Google Glass which will be given to about 8,000 Twitter and Google+ users who have been selected through the social media campaign they launched in February cannot be used by those who wear prescription glasses. Google, however have considered partnering with sunglass retailers such as Ray Ban or Warby Parker and alongside with that, have sorted out plans to work with frames and lenses that match the user’s prescription. Part of Google’s plan is to open retail stores that will allow customers to try on the Google Glass.

The pair of augmented reality high-tech eyewear that can take pictures, record video of whatever the user sees and wants to record, and send text messages. A lot of tech experts are counting high on Google Glass as an important innovation that could give the smartphone a good competition and run for its money.


Google Glass Different Colors -- social media outsourcing


A Georgia Tech professor and Google Project Glass adviser has envisioned widespread consumer adoption for the Google Glass, creating a lifestyle change – one that would give people power and make them efficient and calmer. Things can be done with less and less interruptions.

While “techies” are on all-out support for Google Glass, there are some hurdles that the project has to overcome especially from privacy experts and lawmakers who are expressing concern for the project. For example, a new law, which is apparently aimed at Project Glass, in West Virginia, could make it illegal to drive while wearing Google Glass. In Seattle, certain bars forbid patrons from wearing the Google Glass as well. An outright ban on the product is being sought by one activist group.

Majority of the concerns stem from the device’s ease of discreet recording, which would violate the “two-party consent” law implemented in certain states like Washington, California, and Nevada. In these states, it is illegal to record a conversation unless everyone agrees.

It will all boil down to having control of the device and not misusing the device as in recording in reprehensible way. The device has a signal on the glasses that show when it is recording which is unlike the smartphone put inside the pocket while recording. With Google Glass, you always know when somebody is wearing the device and using it.

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