Category Archives: GOOGLE

A Google+ Hangout: Social Media’s Impact on Storytelling.

Today I was part of a roundtable discussion about social media’s impact on storytelling with brilliant social media strategist Rohit Bargava, the amazingly talented musician Daria Musk, founder of Future of StoryTelling Charles Melcher, and storytelling expert (she wrote the book) Annette Simmons. Watch above and be sure to attend the Future of StoryTelling event in NY on October 3, 2013.


How To Search For Twitter Usernames Directly From Chrome.

It’s been bugging me for months. I wanted a better, easier way to search for people’s Twitter usernames directly from the Chrome omnibox, without using a Google search.

Welp, I finally figured it out.

Step 1: Right-click on the Chrome omnibox and select “and select “Edit Search Engines…” (or go to Preferences > Manage Search Engines).

Step 2: In the “Other Search Engines” section fill in “Twitter User” in the “Add a new search engine” field, “@” in the “Keyword” field, and “” in the “URL with %s” in place” field. Click “Done”.


Step 3: Start searching. Simply type “@” with a space after it, and your omnibox will turn into a Twitter User search box.

Step 4: Profit.

How To Recreate Google+ Circles in Facebook.

I’ve been playing around with Google+ (Google’s new social network) for the last hour, and noticed that the concept of “Circles” (groups of friends categorized by relationships) actually exists in Facebook via “Friend Lists”. You can actually group friends on Facebook and customize your newsfeed right now. [EDIT: This feature has been around for about two years.] Here’s how.

Google+ stream customization.

Google+ stream customization.

Facebook Newsfeed filtering.

Facebook May Not Be Skynet, But It Is Getting Smarter. And That’s Bad For Google.

skynet.jpgRemember the computer network in THE TERMINATOR that progressively got so smart, it became sentient and thusly attempted to annihilate the human race? That network was called Skynet, and its goal was to remove the possibility of human error and slowness of reaction time to guarantee fast, efficient response to enemy attack.

Today, at F8, the annual Facebook Developer Conference, Facebook announced its open graph initiative to take Facebook to its next logical evolution — everyplace other than Facebook. The initiative is designed to use people’s social interactions (when logged into Facebook which is like always, natch) to shape their experiences across every possible connected environment. On the Facebook blog, Founder Mark Zuckerberg stated that “the power of the open graph is that it helps to create a smarter, personalized web that gets better with every action taken.” Imagine visiting Pandora and it would already know how to program your station. Or visiting CNN and having it know what kind of news to display to you first. As a consumer, there are potentially many benefits of the initiative, making many experiences you have more and more relevant the more interactions you perform.

In order to make all of this happen, a significant amount of non-personally-identifiable data will be collected from consumers and made available to approved developers and publishers (75 at launch). As you might imagine, there will probably be some backlash from people concerned about privacy (heck, people made a fuss over the census). But the promise here is that your experience on the web will be better, thanks to Facebook and its delivery of more customized, relevant content. There’s a nifty little chart that explains it here.

This is all a very big deal if it’s successful. Bigger than you think. And It makes Facebook a direct competitor to Google. Facebook has managed to succeed where Google has failed — turning your social behavior into actionable intelligence. Google’s major attempts at insights into webwide consumer behavior (Orkut, FriendConnect, Checkout, Buzz) have not had anything close to the success that the Facebook platform has had. The intelligence collected from relationships with others, social micro-interactions (e.g. ‘likes’, ‘shares’, comments, updates), location (yup, Facebook’s working on that) and even transactions (see Facebook Credits) will be inherently more valuable to advertisers than clickthrough and search behavior (as advertisers get smarter themselves about what those kinds of behaviors mean to their bottom lines). And make no mistake, this data will be collected en masse. Facebook expects to serve 1 billion ‘likes’ in just 24 hours. By applying this kind of statistically significant intelligence to its Engagement Ads, Facebook can deliver even more efficient, impression-generating advertising for its customers.

And what the open graph suggests is that what happens off of Facebook may be even more important as what happens on it.

It seems to be an inevitability that all of this intelligence will one day soon be applied to power a socially-targeted ad network as big (or bigger than) Google’s AdSense. It would be a network that would theoretically deliver even better results for advertisers, resulting in higher CPMs/CPCs/CP-whatevers that can deliver higher payouts to publishers, making a choice between the two platforms a not-too difficult one for those publishers.

Facebook took a huge step today towards becoming a lot smarter, and a lot more powerful. If you’re an advertiser, you should take the cue. Start getting smarter about how social relationships and interactions impact your business. The brands that figure this out first will be the ones that are ready to take advantage of the new Facebook open graph initiative, and the inevitable developments that will ensue.

At a recent dinner, a group of friends of mine discussed whether or not Facebook’s market capitalization would ever eclipse Google’s. If this plan is successful, it may not be a question of if, but when.

Oh — and if it does (and achieves sentience)? Please don’t annihilate humanity, Facebook. We wouldn’t be fans of ‘like’ that.
BONUS SNARKY CONSPIRACY THEORY: Former Facebook Chief Privacy Officer (and genuine, great guy) Chris Kelly is running for California Attorney General. California’s Governor is Arnold Schwarzenegger. Ahnold was THE TERMINATOR. Circle. Complete.

UPDATE: Adage weighs in on this, and I have some comments in there too.

Why Google’s Acquisition of AdMob Isn’t Just About Advertising.

In case you missed it, Google acquired mobile ad network AdMob for $750 million in stock.

There is a lot of speculation on why, but the obvious reason is that Google wants more direct access to what they are betting heavily on — that mobile is the next great advertising medium. They’ve made a huge bet on mobile with Android — which is an obvious move to own the mobile search ad market, but now they’ve got their hooks into the mobile display ad market as well.

But what many might be missing could be the biggest reason Google bought AdMob: the data.

With the acquisition of AdMob, Google now has access to usage data of many of the most popular mobile apps — especially the apps in the iTunes App Store. For iPhones. If Google is taking on Apple for mobile OS market share, they just scored a huge competitive advantage. Google will know more details than ever about how people are using iPhone apps, how they are engaging with advertising within those apps, and users loyalty to those apps.


Dashboards like the above only provide a window into the beginning of the mining that Google is likely about to do on their mobile handset competition. There has already been lively conversation about just how much of our personal data Google has access to. Now, even if you don’t own an Android phone, Google will be able to collect data.

Until there is enough mobile display advertising to sell to generate healthy-enough revenues (Shazam, anyone?), it may be the access to the data that generates the biggest return on Google’s investment.

Upcoming Events You Should Consider Attending.

The next two weeks are flush with events in NYC, orbiting around the sun of Advertising Week.

I'll be flush with events too, so here's a heads-up on how you can catch me…

Monday, September 15th

Social Ad Summit

Tribeca Rooftop, NYC

11:15am – 12:00pm

Branded Experiences on Social Networks

Large brands spend billions of dollars every year on advertising. Hear from a few of those large brands about how much they are allocating to social networks. Find out what has worked and what hasn