Archive for Google

End of the Year Tune Ups

With the release of Google+ Pages for Business and the end of the year coming, I’ve been going through my customers’ online listings at all the search engines and directories.  This includes the big search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing), top-level providers (InfoGroup, Localeze and Acxiom), smaller directories and review sites (Yelp, hotfrog, Manta, etc.), and local area directories (Go Local Tampa Bay, TBO Directory, etc.).  I’m making sure that all the listings are claimed and that information is up to date, consistent and accurate.

It’s a big task, even for a professional like me, and I thought, “This is the perfect year-end/holiday service for businesses.”

Save yourself some time and frustration.  If you haven’t reviewed your local internet presence, or if you haven’t even claimed all of your online listings, let me do it for you.  The details are here:


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Google+ Pages Now Available For Everyone

Yesterday Google announced that Google+ Pages for Business were available to a limited amount of users.  They quickly, within hours, followed that up by opening up the ability to create Google+ Pages to everyone.  I’m in the middle of creating them for all my current customers and I like them quite a bit.

What’s really exciting for me is the built-in functionality for Local Search Marketing.  When you create a Page, you choose whether you’re making the page for a Local Business or Place, a Product or Brand, a Company/Institution/Organization, Arts/Entertainment/Sports, or Other.  If you select a Local Business/Place the form asks for the phone number and looks for the business information and auto-fills the information for that location if its available.

When you’re done creating the page, your Google+ identity is switched over so that you’re acting as the Page.  You can switch back to your own profile at any time.  When you’re logged in as the Page, any actions you make are shown as coming from the page: posts, pictures, videos, updates, etc.

The functionality is similar to Facebook Pages, but they’re making a real effort to integrate the Google suite of products.  I’ve already noticed that if you add a link to a Picasa album (Google’s photo album product) the images in the album are displayed in an album view.

Another cool feature is the ability to “Start a hangout”, a video conference that anyone in your circles can join, a great tool for virtual meetings with customers or webinars.

They’ve already announced that multi-admin support, ownership transfer and analytics are on their way and I can’t wait to see that functionality included.

How Google is Changing Our Brains

Here’s a really interesting graphic on how Google is changing the way we think.  It goes over the good and bad consequences and provides some real food for thought.

I love that we live in a world where all the knowledge in the world is available to us on our computers and through our phones.  As I sit here on my computer, I have access to:

  1. The most comprehensive and arguably the best encyclopedia ever created: Wikipedia.org.
  2. 36,000 books in the public domain through Gutenberg.org for free and millions of titles through Amazon if I want to pay for them.
  3.  I can get almost any DVD or Blu-Ray I want through Netflix.com and I can get almost any movie or TV show I want through Netflix again or Hulu.  The rest can be found somewhere online if you know how to look.
  4. I recently found a great online tool called Spotify with a ton of free music available on their stream.  Another tool called Pandora plays music for me based on an algorithm that figures out what I like, even if I’ve never heard of the song or the artist.
  5. Art can be found online through museum websites, online galleries and artist websites.  Here’s a great list of them from the same group that developed the info-graphic.
  6. And then there’s Google,  which has become so omnipresent that the name of the company is a verb.
We’re living in a Golden Age of Information that our grandparents could never have dreamed of.  When people ask where their flying cars and moon bases went to, I direct them to look in their pockets.  The future is now and it went micro, not macro.

What do you think?


Research and Design by: Online Colleges Site

Announcement: We’re Google Certified Partners!

I’m proud to announce that The Internet Adventure, is now enrolled in “Google Engage for Agencies.”  We had to go through Google’s verification process and complete their certification process to establish our qualifications to enter the program.

For me, it means that I get to brag a little bit and add “Google Certified Partner” to my emails and to my website.  It’s a bit of validation for me of the experience that I’ve accumulated over the past years.  For you, it means that you get first crack at whatever goodies Google sends my way.  The first thing they’ve provided me with is a coupon code for $100 in free Google AdWords.  This is for new AdWords accounts only, so if you’ve already been using Google AdWords the code won’t work for you.  I have a limited number of these available, so please get in touch with me as soon as you can if you want one.

As always, I’m here to serve you.  If you have any questions or concerns or if you just want to say “Hi” please feel free to call me.

Chris Lontok

Head Navigator
Google Certified Partner

I’m now on Google+

I just got an invite to Google+ from a friend of mine this morning. I’m playing around with it, adding people to Circles, checking out Sparks, and setting everything up. If you want an invite from me, just ask and I’ll add you for as long as I have them.

Google’s New User Interface – Maps, Places, & Home Page

Working in Google yesterday, I noticed that their interface had changed.  A quick search online brought me to Google’s official announcement that they’re “refocusing” the map.  I like the new, refined look with a lot more whitespace and the functionality.  The most noticeable change for me is that my name, and various Google products, are in a new black bar.  For those with Google+ beta accounts, their Google+ account information is highlighted.  Mike Blumenthal believes that the new look is there to get users ready for the rollout of Google +.

Here are some screenshots that I took to show how the new interface looks when I’m logged in:

Google Home Page

The new user interface when logged into Google's home page.

Google Maps Page

Google's New Interface - Maps Page

Google Places Page

Google's New Interface - Places Page

I just applied for my own Google+ beta account and I’m eager to try out Google’s next attempt at incorporating social media into it’s products.

 

Panoramio – Pictures and local in one place

Like just about every other blog post that I write, this one came up as I was working in Google.  The thing I love about Google is their suite of inter-related on-line applications.  A quick synopsis of my typical day is: Gmail to Docs to Wave to Calendar to Blogger to Reader and back again.  Needless to say, I’m in and out of Map and Places all day long.

I’ve been doing a lot of work in Picasa recently, as a repository for pictures and another place where I can put relevant data for my customers.  The other day I noticed an option in Picasa to upload a picture to something called Panoramio.  Of course, I tried it and, in a nutshell discovered a great way to combine

Why I Love Chrome!

Here’s a video comparing the speed of Google’s Chrome browser to a potato gun, sound waves, and lightning!  It really is that fast, and I know it from everyday use.  Check it out.

Google Local Business Center is now Google Places

Once again, I got a surprise logging into my LBC this morning.  Google has changed the name of “Google Local Business Center” to “Google Places.”

This could mean any number of things.

  • Is Google moving away from a “business only” concept for their listings?
  • Are they changing the demographic they’re going after
  • Or is it simply that Google Places is less of a mouthful than Google Local Business Center?
Personally I think it’s the last one.  Any thoughts?

Google Local Business Center How-to Webinar or You’re Never Done Learning


I’m in the middle of Google’s Local Business Center How-to webinar and I wasn’t actually expecting to learn anything. I’m in the LBC many times throughout the day working on my customer’s listing. I thought that I had a complete understanding of all the tools and tricks that you can use in it, but I learned something new today.

In the “Additional Details” section, website addresses that you enter in are live on the listing. The specific examples that they used were a link to a pdf menu and a link to a restaurant’s “Reservations” page. While going back through some of my customer’s listings, I noticed that I had done it by accident in one of my customer’s listings, linking back to her old (not done by me!) website and domain name.
It’s a cool trick with a lot of functionality. Now I have to go back and implement it for dozens of customers!