Archive for January, 2011

Fresh Start For Google?

So Eric Schmidt is out, and Google’s original  CEO Larry Page is back in charge.  Hopefully, this will mean an end to policies like the “creepy line” that Schmidt was lampooned for so many times last year.  Since Page was in no small part responsible for Google’s early success, it’s a hopeful sign that this change is going to take the company back to the kind of  direction that made everyone love it in the first place.

Of course, this could mean no difference in the long run, only time will tell what Mr. Page is going to do as the man calling the shots.  The company has the unofficial motto of “Don’t be evil”, though, so hopefully this change will take the company away from the invasive practices that they’ve been tending toward for the last year.  Personally, I think that this leadership change is, as Schmidt said in a recent update to the Official Google Blog, for the best.

So, as long as the company stops scaring us all with the possibility that it actually is trying to become the third half of our brains, that means we can expect things to go a lot smoother for everyone.  Everyone who’s trying to do honest business online may well be able to get things done more effectively in the near future.

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Taking Care Of Your Site’s Needs: Movie Time

You might have never thought about it, but a video can really help your company website a lot.  From the most basic presentational slideshows to meet-and-greet clips, they tell people that you really want them to get a lot of use out of coming to your site.  That’s because it’s a level of interaction beyond just having them read what you’ve written.  That’s not meant as a dig at blogs, guys; it’s just a simple matter of reminding them that there’s a real human being on the other side of the web page – kind of like all the customer service people you’ll meet when you stop in at a business.

There are lots of ways that this can be done, too.  There are some videos that run automatically, cycling to the start again once they reach the end, and these need to be simpler videos so that they don’t turn people off for simply making the site too busy.  It’s good to have a more complicated video that people can choose to start or stop, too, because that increases the level of interaction with your site that’s going on.  The ironic part is that the video with more complex content can actually be the easier one to make, because it can be the sort of thing hosted on sites like YouTube, while the simpler graphics one will pretty much need to be integrated into the programming of your site.

Whether you decide to use just one or both kinds of video for your website, it’s important to understand the differences in what they do for you and in how they need to be treated.  If you’ve got something where the CEO of your company greets people and gives them the proverbial ten cent tour, you need to make sure that it isn’t going to be forced on people who don’t really want it.  That would make them dislike your site, and your company by extension.  If you get everything right, though, you can help to encourage people to do business with you – and you can actually improve your site’s ranking on search engines.

Of course, it’s important to remember that you don’t want any videos connected to your site to be to long.  If they take more than about five minutes or so, you run the risk of people losing interest and moving on to something else – possibly leaving your site as a result.  You need to be concise and interesting, and you need to make sure that your video reflects well on your site.  That isn’t going to be an easy task without either boring or overwhelming viewers, but it can be done.  When you succeed, you’ll be one step closer to making your site the first place that people go for absolutely everything you offer.

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Computers Are Evolving

By now you’ve noticed how much people are starting to value to new “Cloud” approach to the Internet. It really is more advanced than the basic per-server way that everything’s been done so far. But, you might not know that the hardware used on all computers is evolving to, because that advance is coming from a sector you might have overlooked: gaming.

Everyone knows that one day, we’re going to have something that looks like the computer systems in the old Jetsons TV series, but thanks to the Xbox Kinect and a bunch of people tinkering with it on their own time, we’re actually a step closer to the day when your whole room is your computer interface. With further innovation, the technology behind the Kinect could soon replace both keyboard and mouse as the way we control our computers.

As soon as that’s combined with the new Cloud technology, we’ll be able to just turn on our monitor-televisions and control everything with a wave of our hands. It’ll be so amazingly easy to access everything we want that the way we’re surfing the web now (admittedly impressive) will seem like the crude bumbling of technological cavemen.

HAL will be with you, always.

HAL will be with you, always.

Of course, falling back on classic geek humor lines, it’s also possible that we’re creating our own doom here.  The Cloud works byhaving computers share their resources with each other, essentially turning them into a larger hive computer. Many sci-fi stories have relied on the premise that something like this leads to computers becoming self-aware and deciding that they should get rid of humanity. If that happens, we’re giving an ideal set of eyes to something that ultimately wants to kill us.

In the meantime, we move forward, advancing ourselves toward a brighter futurewhere our lives will be a little easier and our days will be filled with easier access to the information we need. It may well be that our computing and cloud surfing will be a lot safer than browsing the Internet has ever been. Just make sure that you know how to deal with giant killer robots along the way.

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