Google Buys Simplify Media To Power Music Syncing For New iTunes Competitor

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Apple Inc, Google

Google just announced that it bought Simplify Media, a startup that offers software that lets you share your iTunes music across platforms, including the web.
The software lets you share your photos and music using programs like iTunes, iPhoto and Windows Media player. According to the startup’s site Simplify Media “connects people directly with their content, without the hassles of synching or uploading all their files. Simplify users can also share their personal media with family and close friends in a private, secure group.”
It appears that that deal may have taken place in March, when the company announced a “new direction” on its blog, discontinuing its software to users and removing its iPhone app from Apple’s App store.
Google VP Vic Gundotra said that Simplify’s technology will be used to offer a desktop app that will give you access to all of your (DRM-free) media on your Android devices remotely, using Google’s new iTunes competitor on the web.

Google Analytics Dashboard – A Powerful WordPress Traffic Monitoring Plugin

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Google, Internet, Technology, Web Design, Web Development, WordPress

Are you running a WordPress blog? One very important aspect of the blogger’s job is to keep track of his web traffic. It is good to know how many visitors you have and whether that number is climbing or tanking.
It’s also good to know as much as you can about your visitors. Where did they come from? What are they reading on your site or blog? What kind of changes do you need to make in order to get, keep, or grow that readership? If you want more reasons to analyze your traffic, check out 7 reasons why your website won’t last without analytics.
Many people reach for one of the most powerful tools out there to do the work for them. That tool is Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is probably the most popular traffic analyzing tool there is for webmasters and bloggers.
Sometimes it can become a pain signing into Google Analytics to see what’s going on. One way to save some time is by setting up email reports. Another option you have is to use a WordPress traffic monitoring plugin that gives you the traffic analysis right in your WordPress dashboard.
What if you could have the best of both worlds? What you want is the power of Google Analytics with the convenience of a dashboard widget.
Well, let me show you the Google Analytics Website Dashboard WordPress plugin. I think it can be the answer and can give you the power and convenience that you want.
Setting Up Google Analytics Website Dashboard
The plugin is hosted on the WordPress plugin site. That makes downloading and installing it a breeze from within your WordPress dashboard. Just head over to the Manage Plugins section and click “Add New.” Run a search for “Google Analytics Dashboard.” It should show up as the top result but make sure it is the one by Carson McDonald.
Once you activate the plugin, you will find a Google Analytics Dashboard option in the settings menu. Just head over there and sign in with your Google Analytics account and choose the profile to display.
That’s about all there is to installing it.
The WordPress Traffic Monitoring Plugin
Head to the dashboard and have a look at the Google Analytics widget you have just installed. You should see the graph displaying the visits you’ve had for the past month. This should give you a good overall look at how your traffic has been doing.
You’ll also notice some other information including number of visits, pageviews, and pages per visit. I also like the fact that it shows the tops posts, referrers and the top searches. This gives some good basic information about what’s been popular recently.
Analytics Information For Pages & Posts
Head on over to either the pages or posts section of your WordPress backend and you’ll see some stats for each page or post on the list. The plugin actually adds a column called “Analytics” and makes the pageview/exit/unique visitor stats very accessible.
The Google Analytics WordPress traffic monitoring plugin doesn’t show all of the data Google Analytics has to offer (visit Google Analytics for more in-depth information). I think the power of the plugin lies in its ability to save you a trip to Google’s site by displaying just the basics.

Google Reportedly Prepping Android-Based iPad Challenger

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Anddroid, Apple Inc, Google, iPad

In a report on forthcoming challengers looking to rival Apple’s iPad, The New York Times notes that Google is reportedly preparing to launch its own Android-based entrant into the field as Nokia, HP and Microsoft also move forward on their own plans for devices in the emerging industry segment.
Eric E. Schmidt, chief executive of Google, told friends at a recent party in Los Angeles about the new device, which would exclusively run the Android operating system. People with direct knowledge of the project — who did not want to be named because they said they were unauthorized to speak publicly about the device — said the company had been experimenting in “stealth mode” with a few publishers to explore delivery of books, magazines and other content on a tablet.
After reportedly holding back to see what Apple would do with the iPad, competitors such as HP and others have been hard at work developing their own answers to Apple’s challenge.
The rivalry between Apple and Google has become increasingly personal as the two companies have begun to compete in a growing number of areas. Google’s Android operating system has been a fast-growing alternative to the iPhone in the smartphone market, with Apple signaling that it is taking the threat seriously by filing a patent infringement lawsuit against handset maker HTC in what has been seen as an indirect assault on Google’s smartphone offerings.
While an unsurprising development given Google’s and Apple’s increasing overlap, a Google tablet would offer yet another area of direct competition between the two companies and likely escalate tensions even further.

Google’s Big New Cloud Play: Should Microsoft Be Afraid?

Posted by: flirtations  /  Category: Applications, Google, Microsoft, Technology

Late last week, Google (GOOG) made another aggressive move to stay ahead of Microsoft (MSFT) in the online productivity tools space by acquiring DocVerse, a startup founded by two former Microsoft employees, known for tools that let users collaborate on Microsoft Office files on the Web.
Google nabbed the three-year-old, San Francisco-based DocVerse for $25 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. What Google gets in return is the technology to make Microsoft Office operate more like Google Docs.
DocVerse provides a 1MB plug-in to Office 2007 that allows users to edit and share Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents online and in real-time with all the features of the Office client versions intact.
Ironically, the acquisition gives Google the authority to let users access full-featured Office files in a Web-based environment before Microsoft does.
Google plans to add the DocVerse functionality to Google Apps for free, but it has not announced when that will take place. Yet one thing’s for sure: Google is giving Microsoft no breathing room in the race to bring cloud-based productivity tools to businesses. Just yesterday, Google unveiled an online store called Google Apps Marketplace, where enterprises can buy cloud-based applications designed to work with Google’s own apps.
A Body Blow to Microsoft
It’s worth noting that Microsoft already provides the same kind of online-collaboration capabilities as Docverse via its free Office Live Workspace service. But this is an offering that Microsoft has barely marketed, likely because with the upcoming Office 2010, arriving in June (May 12 for businesses), Microsoft will include Office Web Apps. These are free, stripped-down online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. If users want the full features of Office 2010 they will still have to buy the full Office 2010 desktop suite.
While Microsoft still has an undeniable lead in the productivity tool space, especially at enterprises, the latest moves by Google turn up the heat. Just as Steve Ballmer anounced Microsoft’s “all in” commitment to cloud computing last week, Google comes along and integrates online collaboration with Office docs through its own established cloud-based productivity suite and opens up a apps store for businesses.
“I’d say this [Google's Docverse buy] was a body blow to Microsoft,” says veteran industry analyst Roger Kay. “Microsoft has to respond as best it can, whether shipping Office 2010 earlier or pushing Office Web Apps more, or both.”
Chasing Google’s Web Apps
Office still remains Microsoft’s main cash cow, along with Windows. It generates 90 percent of the revenue for Microsoft’s business division. However, the Office suite faces a variety of growing threats, not only from Google Apps, but also from IBM (IBM) with LotusLive iNotes and Oracle (ORCL) with its newly announced “Cloud Office.”
“Google is always trying to outflank Microsoft,” Kay says. “There are a lot of benefits to a client-based collaborative system that synchs periodically via the cloud. Having it as an Office plug-in through Google Apps is pretty sweet.”
The Real Problem: Google Incompatibility with Office
Nevertheless, there is a flip side to Google’s purchase of DocVerse: It is an acknowledgement by Google that Office is the king of productivity apps and that incompatibility between Office and Google Docs has been a weakness.
Does DocVerse solve this weakness? No, writes PCWorld columnist David Coursey.
DocVerse is essentially an Office add-on that stores files in Google’s cloud, writes Coursey. This may help convince Office users to try Google Apps, but it doesn’t address the bigger problem of feature and file format incompatibility with Office.
“Limited compatibility with Microsoft Office is a major reason why many Google Apps free and paid customers prefer to use the e-mail and calendar features, but not the word processor, spreadsheet and presentation modules of Google Docs,” writes Coursey.
Still Early Going for Google Apps
For the time being Office still dominates at large enterprises. A November survey of 2,000 IT decision-makers by research firm Forrester revealed that 80 percent of companies surveyed support some version of Microsoft Office, and 78 percent have no plans for implementing an alternative to Microsoft Office.
This could change as Google continues to tighten its focus on online collaboration tools for businesses, says Forrester analyst Sheri McLeish. But, she emphasizes, it’s still early going for Google Apps.
“Yes, businesses are experimenting with Google Apps, but Google is still trying to sort out its apps and enterprise solution sets.”
McLeish adds it’s hard for most companies to make the business case to switch tools when users are comfortable and familiar with Office. “Google realizes this,” she says, “which is why it is resorting to acquiring a company that basically helps people work online with Office formatted documents.”
Clearly Google’s long-term goal is to chip away at Microsoft’s Office desktop suite dominance, but the DocVerse acquisition doesn’t move the ball too far down the field, says McLeish.
“I see this as a complement to Office apps, not a replacement technology,” she says

AdWords and iPhone apps: lessons learned

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: App Store, Applications, Google, Internet, iPhone

Found this incredible article on the internet:
via WeAreUproar
We built Gratuitous in order to learn about developing and selling iPhone applications. We’re always looking for ways to improve our visibility in the App Store. Recently, though, we’ve been looking for ways to increase our visibility from outside the App Store into the App Store.
AdWords to the rescue! Right? Maybe not. AdWords didn’t work out for Gratuitous, so we quickly changed course and moved on. But I’d like to share our findings with you
Keyword Pricing
We didn’t know anything about AdWords when we started, so we kicked it off with default settings. We typed up our ad title and body, and hit “go.” The default setting in AdWords is to optimize for impressions (how many times an ad is displayed) by automatically bidding on clicks. For our keywords (iphone tip calculator), the bid went to $2-3 per click. While that may not be bad for a lot of products, it doesn’t make sense for an iPhone app that sells for $1-2. Even if you were able to get the cost per click down to $0.50 – $1, remember that an ad click doesn’t guarantee a purchase – far from it.
So, we switched over to manual pricing. We figured if we could get some clicks for $0.10 – $0.15, then they might be worth it. At that price, we didn’t see enough ad impressions to be worth our time. When bidding high we saw 3 clicks for 10,000 impressions. At 10 cents, the impressions went down to just a few per day. There is no way we’re going to see enough clicks to make that worth our while. If you’re selling a $10 app, then AdWords might be worth looking at.
Copyright and “Limited” Distribution
When we first submitted our ad, it went into review by the AdWords team because it included the word “iPhone.” It’s kind of hard to sell an iPhone app without saying “iPhone,” so we trusted that Google would see that our use of the term “iPhone” was an instance of fair use. After a few days, our ad was approved, but was marked as “Approved (limited).” Limited, to Google, means US-only. That was good enough for us, so we left it as is. If you need ad distribution outside the U.S. you can email Apple and ask them to approve your use in AdWords. Email lwidup@apple.com with your AdWords account number and a nice, friendly note.
Moving on
It’s pretty obvious that AdWords isn’t going to work out for Gratuitous, but apps are only part of our business. “Apps for your life. Consulting for your business.” Instead of advertising Gratuitous, we’re now trying AdWords as a way to generate leads for our consulting service. This is agile business. We tried something, quickly evaluated the results, and adjusted strategy decisively.
I resisted the temptation to spend a bunch of time becoming an expert in AdWords and going in 100%. There may be a way to make AdWords increase Gratuitous sales a bit, but it’s not worth our time. It’s clear that AdWords will not sell thousands of dollars worth of Gratuitous, so the experiment is concluded and we move on and adjust strategy. As a small business owner, I knew I needed to be quick and just test the waters. You’re going to do a lot of new things as a small business owner. Having a good sense for what to spend time on and what to do “just good enough” will be very valuable.

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