Tag Archives: google

New Google+ Events Feature Brings the Social Network to a New Level

New Google+ Events has animated themes.

New Google+ Events feature has cool animated themes and ability to share photos during the event to create a slideshow.

I was greeted with a pleasant surprise when I opened Google+ in my browser the other day: Google+ now has events. I guess I geeked out pretty hard as I immediately created an event even though I didn’t really have an event coming up. I created the methodical “Event Celebrating the New Events Feature on Google+” and invited a few Google+ friends I thought might actually be interested in the new feature just to see how it works.

My test run turned out pretty good. Creating an event is rather fun because it’s really easy and Google+ has a classy set of animated stock photos to choose from to be your theme. This is definitely a step up from other social networks with event features–Facebook doesn’t even have photos to choose from, let alone animated images. Of course, you can also use your own photo–either by choosing from your photos already uploaded to Google+ or you can upload straight from your computer (proper dimensions are 940px x 280px, only static images supported at this time.).

After a theme is set, add a title, select time and date, location, other details and invite your friends. That’s pretty much it as far as creating an event. When inviting people, you can choose between searching anyone on Google Plus, choose specific circles or type in an email address. This is another feature that definitely sets Google+ apart from Facebook. With Facebook events, you can only invite other Facebook users. With Google+ events, you can invite anyone you know as long as they are either on Google+ or have an email address (which is pretty much anyone).

Google+ Events Integrated in Google Calandar

Google+ Events Integrated in Google Calandar

Some of the event options include allowing guests to invite others, allowing guests to add photos, making it a public event or making it an exclusive a Google+ Hangout. Advanced features include adding a website, a ticket seller URL, YouTube video and transit/parking information. Probably the best part about Google+ events is that it’s fully integrated into other Google products. You can easily add the event to your Google calendar (it adds automatically when you create an event or mark yourself as “attending”) and emails are sent to guests with an invitation. I can see the last point as being a negative as well–more popular Google+ users might get spammed by event invitations. Receiving an invitation in your gmail inbox might not be so bad, but you also get an email every time someone comments on the event page. Of course, this is a minor problem as you can easily mute updates to the event (just as you can regular Google+ posts) and you can always adjust your Google+ email settings.

I can definitely see this as being a great marketing tool for businesses to promote upcoming sales events or conferences. The ability to easily share photos before, during and after the event is what Google+ Events is basically built around. It will be interesting to see what brands come up with to further connect with consumers.

Further reading:

9 Reasons to Switch from Facebook to Google+
Google+ Events: This Week in Social Media
Google+ Events: Learn More on google.com
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Setting up a Google+ Brand Page: A few tips

Google Plus LogoA few weeks ago, I set up a Google+ Brand Page for KVSC-FM. The basics of setting up a Google+ Brand Page is pretty self-explanatory. However, you should be warned that Google+ currently requires Brand Pages to be linked to a single gmail account. I was unaware of this and now have the KVSC page linked to my personal gmail account. This is nice because it’s easy to switch back and forth between accounts without having to sign out/in, but this is actually very bad news. Now I am the only person who can make any changes to the KVSC Brand Page–there’s no way to add admins. I’m refraining from going on a rant here, but just beware of this Google+ flaw. In hindsight, I should have created a gmail account for the station first (such as kvsc.gplus@gmail.com). I should also note this is the second time I have had a bad experience with creating accounts using Google’s services. The KVSC YouTube channel is also linked to my personal gmail account and I have not been able to fix it in nearly two years. Moving on…

KVSC 88.1FM Google+ Brand Page example of a profile banner.

Using the Google+ Scrapbook to create a profile banner can be a fun branding opportunity.

Once the basics are completed in setting up your Brand Page (basic info, links, profile photo, etc.) you should make a nice banner at the top of you profile using scrapbook photos. This is definitely a cool feature and should be used to showcase your business–either through creative branding or by using the photos to highlight an upcoming promotion or event.

KVSC Google+ Brand Page profile banner for Trivia Weekend.For KVSC, I used the scrapbook photos to showcase the station’s tagline “Your Sound Alternative.” I recently changed it to feature the annual Trivia Weekend contest coming up in February. Be aware of another flaw though: you currently cannot rearrange photos in scrapbook. Without the ability to rearrange photos, you will need to delete the old photos and replace them with your new images in order to get a new banner. This also means you will need to upload the photos in the correct order to make the banner image. A bit of a pain, but I still think this is some cool branding real estate. Also, remember to save your old photos before replacing them.

The hard part with setting up a Brand Page will probably be to actually build a following. All I can suggest here is to post frequently and cross-promote on other social networking sites–namely Facebook and Twitter. With posts, I suggest using lots of visuals. Intriguing images and video coupled with headlines that inspire comments are key. All posts do not necessarily need to relate directly to your business or industry. Find images that are funny, inspiring or otherwise interesting. There are many other suggestions on what to post and how to get the most of your Google+ Brand Page. Here’s a good article I found on HubSpot that may help.

I believe Google+ is one of the easiest social networking sites to use. It is not as personal as Facebook and a little slower in pace compared to Twitter. Google+ has found a happy medium and just needs to get past the initial early adopter phase–once users start posting more frequently it will become more popular. I haven’t quite wrapped my head around how to use Google+ Hangouts from a marketing perspective (especially for a small business or non-profit), but I have heard of many organizations using it for some pretty cool things such as free conference calling, a virtual press conference, celebrity chats or a behind-the-scenes look.


Who Uses Bing?

Google is clearly the winner.

Google is clearly the winner.

Consider this my first rant. I know, I know … it’s been nearly two weeks since my previous post and I should have something more interesting to discuss and, believe me, I do. However, “Who Uses Bing” is the first topic listed on my blog ideas I have saved in my iPhone notes. This topic actually came to me when I watched my professor go to Bing and type in “Google” before actually doing his search. Let me know in the comments section below if you have ever done this.

Bing is terrible. That may be a bit harsh, it’s not like I know anything about search algorithms, but seriously, Google is just a lot better. It was only a couple years ago when Microsoft formally launched its new search engine site and changed the name from the boring “MSN Search” (Live Search and Windows Live Search–also terribly boring names–were also used) to simply “Bing.” I remember watching some of the fabulous network news anchors poking fun of the name and trying to predict if people would start saying “Just Bing it!” as we all do with Google. Pretty sure I have never heard anyone use Bing as a verb and I don’t think I ever will. Well, there is the clever tagline “Bing and decide” used in it’s advertisements, but come on.

Okay, this is more of a rant than I wanted it to be, so let’s just head over to bing.com and see if the search engine can explain to me why Google is better. After reaching bing.com (which I typed in on my awesome Google Chrome Web browser), I proceeded to type in “why Google is better than Bing” and the auto-complete finished after typing in “why Goo,” nice. At least they’re playing fair and not trying to block certain search terms. Anyway, I came up with this nice article in the number two spot (the first site was an article from 2009 stating that Bing is a competitor, but it is not a “Google Killer”), which contained the 10 reasons why Google is still better than Bing.

There’s no reason to try and list my top 10 reasons; I think the above mentioned article speaks for itself. However, I say Google is king of search because of a few key reasons. First off, Google was founded as a search engine company and has always kept the focus on speed and finding the most relevant, pertinent information regarding the user’s search term. Secondly, Google really optimizes the user Web experience through additional tools such Google Docs, Google Calendar, Gmail and much, much more. Finally, Google has done an outstanding job of integrating its search function into mobile platforms. Google Goggles, voice search and the entire iPhone app is a great addition to the mobile experience.

I think I’ll finish there before I get into a rant on why I think even Yahoo! is better than Bing. Somehow Bing has managed to overtake Yahoo! as the world’s number two search engine, so I guess I’ll congratulate them on that.


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