Free, Online

As we all know too well, free doesn’t always mean free. How often have you clicked on a link in emails or from search results only to be brought to a page that informs you that you must enter a credit card or complete a series of obstacles in order to get access to the elusive free product? Television offers for games, such as McDonald’s Monopoly game, always boast the “no purchase necessary” option to play. Gevalia touts a free percolator while also subscribing you to a coffee-o-the-month club for outrageously overpriced java. And dozens of pop-up “Free iPad” sites require you to enlist friends, sign-up for credit cards or buy magazine subscriptions in order to qualify for free products that you probably will never see. In fact, most spam blockers specifically look for the word “free” in the subjects or bodies of emails to elevate the email’s spam ranking simply because they know that free, online, isn’t always free. Free, online, means “free trial,” “free if you enter a credit card,” “free if you complete these tasks,” and “free*“. Read more

Sightsmap

Using geo data from photos uploaded by users to Google’s Panoramio, Sightsmap generates an interactive heatmap of the most frequently photographed spots around the world. It reminds me a little of the Heat Map I made back in 2006, which could be applied to any geolocational data (including photos).

Google+ and +1

Plus One

The +1 thing has been a part of the internet for as long as I can remember. Stemming back from my early days on shockfusion.com, the best way for someone to give propz where propz were due, with a system that didn’t allow for it, was to simply post a reply with “+1” in it. QBN.com (formerly NewsToday.com) added that mechanism to their home page for visitors to promote admin- and user-added content. And now Google has wholly embraced he meme with their version of Facebook’s erroneously-named “Like” button. So what’s the main difference between Facebook’s “Like” button and Google’s “+1” button? The answer is simple: Google has a search, Facebook does not. +1ing, though not guaranteed, will help improve your pages’ rank and elevate its placement among Google search results. It’s pretty much the Digg.com model, but for all teH InterWebz, not just news.

You may also notice the shiny, new +1 button on [d]online’s header, by the search bar. G’head and click it if the spirit moves you.

Google+

Now, Google has taken their war against Facebook domination to the next level. How? They’ve launched their own Facebook with Google+. According to them, they did it because “People Hate Facebook.” And within days of the launch, all my friends, coworkers and family members seem to be scrambling into their “circles” (Google’s version of Facebook’s “lists”) and posting up a storm. Facebook says that they knew about circles last year and beat Google to market by launching their rehashed version of Facebook Groups (though, I believe, they’re are as pointless as Google Groups – which I still use and manage). But Google is really banking on Google+’s success. And they need to, as well. According to Silicon Alley Insider’s Chart-of-the-Day, people spend a lot more time on Facebook than Google. And in an online world driven by ad revenue, time translates into dollars:

What does this all mean?

It means that people that left Facebook because it was too addictive now have two different sites to avoid. And people who are tired of receiving dozens of email responses to Facebook group conversations that someone else added them to, will now have dozens more. We have twice as many privacy issues as before and potentially double the: online stalkers, farmville invitations, pointless events, embarrassing photos, etc. I don’t think we really need a world with two Facebooks so I’m hoping that the battle royale between Facebook and Google will produce a clear, definitive winner so I can go back to being monogamously addicted to one.

Goodbye Windows Mobile

This weekend, I picked up the new HTC Evo 4G, which has been sold out of Sprint stores for the last month. And while I’ve only performed a cursory evaluation of the OS, I’m worlds happier than I was with Windows Mobile 6.1. The operating system isn’t new to me, however, as I spent nearly a day-long barbecue stealing Itay‘s Nexxus One and spent the last year looking over Zeh‘s shoulder as he fiddled with his MyTouch. Needless to say, I liked what I saw. My geekiest of friends had given Android 2.2 two international thumbs up, so my purchase was clear.

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Random Musings IV

The Hotel Inntel

Take a look at the above design of The Hotel Inntel in Zaandam, The Netherlands, by Wilfried van Winden of WAM Architecten. There are also a ton of other images on the original poster‘s site. Read more

The Google Job Experiment

Alec Brownstein (copywriter/director) got a job at Y&R New York by playing to the egos of Gerry Graf, David Droga, Tony Granger, Ian Reichenthal and Scott Vitrone. And then he won two pencils and a Clio for doing it.

Brownstein bought Google ad words for the creative directors’ names, which cost him $6. “No one else was bidding on (the names),” he tells us, “so I got the top spot for like 10 cents a click.” This got him interviews with everyone except Granger. Reichenthal and Vitrone are both at Y&R NY and the rest is history.