Archive for October 2010

Google FAILs more often than you might think

October 28th, 2010 — 1:08pm

A few weeks ago we brought you new of Google’s decision to shelve Google Wave. For a highly successful company Google actually fails quite frequently. It’s a testament to their sheer pace of development – they’ve launched 264 new products in the last year alone – that they can shut down so many and still continue to grow.

To remind us all that even the mighty Google makes mistakes, here’s a list of Google’s recent failures.

Google SearchWiki (closed March 2010)

The SearchWiki let you reorder the search results manually, pushing some sites higher and even deleting certain ones.

Google Audio Ads (Closed February 2009)

Google planned to allow AdWords advertisers to bid for placements on radio. In reality, they couldn’t give advertisers any measurability of the results, nor could they boost the revenues of radio stations.

Google Video (closed January 2009)

Google Video was what Google came up with before they bought YouTube. To start with, it just re-broadcast TV shows and made them searchable. Google then started to allow users to upload. And then the TV-show bit was dropped. They then bought YouTube and turned Google Video into an online video rental service, which they shut a few months later.

Dodgeball (closed January 2009)

This was Google’s early location check-in service, similar to what Foursquare is today. It was perhaps ahead of its time – there were far fewer smartphone users out there.

Jaiku (closed January 2009)

Jaiku is a microblogging service that Google bought in 2007 and for some reason has done nothing with since. It still exists, but is unsupported.

Google Notebook (Closed January 2009)

This was a tool that allowed you to cut and paste images, text and search results and paste them into an online notebook that you could share with others.

Google Catalogs (Closed January 2009)

This was supposed to be a smart way that you could search through consumer catalogues.

Google Print Ads (Closed January 2009)

As with Google Audio, Google print ads failed because it couldn’t give advertisers the measurability that search and online ads were good at.

Google Page Creator (Closed August 2008)

This was Google’s very own WYSIWYG website builder. It was always a bit clunky, and shut up shop two years ago…

Google Answers (Closed November 2006)

Never quite up to the other Q&A offerings out there – particularly Yahoo Answers – this service closed down in 2006. And that might have been due to cost – Google paid people to answer questions, rather than relying on crowd-sourced input like other services.

That’s it for now

Google launches so many new products that some of them are bound to fail. We’ve all tried out website ideas, only to lose enthusiasm as the project continues. But Google is a good role model – it doesn’t cry over spilt milk, but tries to learn something and use that information in the next idea.

Have you tried and failed, and learned something new? Leave us a comment below.

WebEden News: Blogging, Ecommerce & Mobile

October 27th, 2010 — 1:31pm

It’s been a long time since we gave you a product update – in fact our last major release was the new control panel back in July – so I wanted to let you know what the developers had been up to here at WebEden.

Blogging is coming

For the past 12 months we’ve been working towards a new blog tool. Our current blog tool was designed back in 2003 and the plain fact of the matter is that it’s out of date. Few of you use it. And others who want a blog have signed up with free services like blogger and then integrated that with your WebEden website.

Blogging has come a long way since those days, and there are now some great tools available to publish blog content in a recognisable, systematic format. The problem we had is that WebEden is a design tool that allows you to create great visual free form designs. You can create, drag and drop any object around the page. The challenge was: how do we turn all of that content and design and translate it into a regular, systematic blog.

Nevertheless the white-coated ones have come up with a very cool solution to blogging, and we’ll be adding it to the WebEden website builder in just a few weeks. The new blog will have its own special place inside the control panel. You’ll still get all the cool design-led stuff, but you’ll be able to add a great blog too.

Ecommerce is coming

Luckily enough, ecommerce data needs to be ordered and system–a-tised in a similar way to Blog data, so the blogging tool will be shortly followed by our long awaited ecommerce too. Honest. Not much longer to wait for that one. We’re aiming for this year.

Good mobile version is coming

The rise of the iPhone and iPad, and Apple deciding to not support Flash on either iPad or iPhone has created a ‘Flash war’. Many websites require flash in order to be able to work. This means that they don’t work correctly on those devices.

Your WebEden website gets published in both Flash and HTML. We originally did an HTML version to make all your sites W3C compliant, and to give them very good SEO qualities. The challenge now is to make this HTML look right on Smartphone screens.

To this end, we’re almost ready to release a new version of WebEden which produces a phone-screen optimised single column layout mobile website. It’s been tough. But it’ll be worth it. This will definitely be live by the end of this year.

That’s it for now

We’re really excited about these new updates, so we wanted to let you know what they were all about. Much of our development comes from suggestions you make. So keep them coming in, and we’ll keep developing!

How to put a value on your Facebook page

October 25th, 2010 — 1:12pm

We’re often going on (and on) about using social media to help market your website.

We’ve integrated the WebEden Website Builder with Facebook and Twitter. It’s possible to put a Twitter feed on your website. Thanks to some handy tricks you can put a Facebook ‘Like’ button on your website. We’ve even developed our own Facebook application so you can build a website from within Facebook.

As opposed to Pay per click or other traditional marketing methods, its hard to put a value on your social media efforts. Social media for brands and websites is about engaging with your audience in an environment that suits them.

But now there’s a handy little tool that attempts to do put a ‘value’ on your actual Facebook page.

SocialPageEvaluator tries to come up with a notional ‘value’ of your Facebook page by looking at factors such as the number of Fans; the frequency with which you update your page; the number of visits your fan page has; and the number of times your fans interact with your fan page content.

All you need to do is enter the URL of any Facebook page and SocialPageEvaluator does the rest.

So to test it out, how does it get on with the WebEden Facebok page?

Here goes… and the result?

Social Page Evaluator is saying that the current ‘value’ of the WebEden facebook page is $418, but with improved social media techniques it could reach a value of $3,132. Interestingly enough, it has come up with the advice that we’re not posting enough to our Facebook Page.

It’s important to remember that this is just one system’s attempt to assess value, and is therefore more useful as a comparison tool to find out how you’re doing against competitors.

Try it out and let us know how your Facebook Page gets on!

Facebook asks ‘where are you?’

October 21st, 2010 — 2:51pm

Recent months have seen an explosion of location based social networking services, such as Foursquare, Gowalla and MyTown. More popular in the US than the UK, these services let you share where you are and what you’re.

As we mentioned previously, Twitter has updated their location settings to allow you to say where you are.

Facebook Places

Facebook has eyed this growth with envy, and have now jumped into location based services with ‘Facebook Places’.

Available initially just in the US, the service allows you to check into places in a similar way to Foursquare. Places can be created by anyone, but are often cafes, shops, restaurants, parks or tourist attractions.

Businesses can claim their locations, and reward users for visiting. This might take the form of badges, points, or mayor-ships; or could even be discounts on products.

Users can also tag others that are in the location too, and others in that location can be viewed using ‘People here now’.

Initially your location can only be view by your friends; and you’re able to easily disable the feature.

From the horses mouth

The Facebook product manager responsible said “You may want to share your check-in information with third-party applications that build interesting experiences around location, such as travel planning. Applications you use must receive your permission before getting this information. Your friends will be able to share your check-ins with the applications they use to help create new social experiences based on location. If you don’t want to share your check-ins with your friends’ applications, just uncheck the box in your Privacy Settings under Applications and Websites.”

What about you?

Have you tried Foursquare or other location based social media? Are you concerned about the privacy issues of revealing where you are (so a burglar knows you’re away from home)? Leave us a comment below.

Is Google going to rescue Newspapers?

October 19th, 2010 — 2:39pm

A couple of months ago we told you about Rupert Murdoch’s plan to charge access to The Times websites. With the newspaper group losing more money each day than most of us earn in a lifetime, he needed to make a big and bold change.

Traffic plunge

Following the change, the inevitable happened: Traffic to The Times plummeted. Although Murdoch himself claims the service is doing alright, the fact of the matter is that visitor numbers are just a fraction of what they used to be.

Content should be free!

The problem of course is that in the Internet age most people think that content – information – should be free. Newspapers have lost their paid gateway to what’s going on in the world. Much of the traffic to the Times came from Google, as it indexed The Times news stories and reproduced them in the Search Results.

But with a paywall blocking their access, Google can no longer see that content, so they can’t list The Times in the search results. So not only is no-one willing to subscribe to the content, none of us knows what they’re writing about anyway!

Here comes ‘Newspass’

Now it’s time for a drumroll. Google are riding to the rescue of The Times – and other newspapers who want to charge users for access to content – with a new micropayment platform called Newspass.

Based on Google checkout, this would allow users to make small payments to websites in order to access specific stories or content. The really great feature of Newspass is that it would allow Google to continue to index all of the newspapers content that would normally sit behind the paywall. This means they could continue to show up in the Search Results, and would therefore continue to get traffic. Google would indicate that the content would be paid-for with a small paywall icon beside the snippet in the search results.

Google say that they are “uniquely positioned to help publishers create a scalable ecommerce system via our Checkout product and also enable users to find this content via search, even if it’s behind a paywall”.

So Google is the Newspaper Saviour

So might Google rescue The Times in the end? Would you be willing to pay to access news stories? Is this also good news for website builders, who might be able to charg in future for access to their content?

Leave us a comment below.

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