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Welcome to 2010!

So... it’s all over again for another year... no more turkey, mince pies or mulled wine for another 12 months. We’re all agreed here that this is not entirely a bad thing! With Christmas over and done with, it’s time to look forward to the New Year!

Things we’re looking forward to in 2010:

  • Google’s Nexus One Phone. Launching today – likely to well and truly divide the camp here. So long iPhone? The jury’s out as yet.
  • Celebrity Big Brother. Or the backlash anyway. At the very least, we can be pleased that it’s the last one. EVER.
  • Real – time search taking off. Still not sure whether I need to know everybody on Twitter’s opinion on my desired search term, but could be a giggle to start with.
  • Onwards and upwards for Focus. We’ve had a great 2009, with a bit of a team reshuffle, and we’re looking forward to a cracking 2010. 

Created on Tuesday January 05 2010 01:00 PM


Tags: christmas new-year technology google realtimesearch googlephone focus


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eCommerce Expo

I went along to the eCommerce Expo at London's Earls Court, to have a little sneaky peak at what's going on in the industry. I found the seminars interesting but always find it a little uncomfortable walking around and being 'pitched' at from every angle!

I went to the Google University Analytics Master Class where they took it back to basics and highlighted the main principles of getting the most out of your analytics including:

  • Set clear goals - understand what your website is for
  • Use the reports from your Google Analytics to drive the website forward - don't just use them to show your boss a nice report.
  • Ensure that many people in the organisation are aware of the analytics, what they show and what the objectives for the site are.

But over all make sure that you have a great web development team who can work with you, using the results from the analytics to put in changes for driving the site and retaining customers!

If you're interested you can view the seminars from the expo online at Seminar Stream

 

Created on Thursday October 22 2009 10:23 AM


Tags: google web-development e-commerce conference


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Google Chrome OS

Following on from their successful launch of their open source browser, Chrome, Google have announced plans to launch their integrated operating system - Chrome OS - in a year's time.

"Speed, simplicity and security" are the key buzz words surrounding Chrome OS, with the initial launch geared towards netbooks (the small laptops used to perform simple web surfing/ email checking functions while out and about).

I've been using Google Chrome for the past six months and have been surprised at how quick and user friendly it is in terms of intuitive design.  I have also spoken to accountants who moved over to Chrome for after the major security issues with IE7 at the end of 2008.  If Chrome OS is built on the same principles of intuitive use and fast access, I'll be one of the first to try it out!

Created on Wednesday July 08 2009 10:49 AM


Tags: google operating-systems web-development


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Google Wave: worth the hype

Google WaveRather impressed by the Google Wave demo, launched just before the weekend.  The product promises to revolutionise communication, and it very well may prove to do just that!

Elements we like:

  • Real-time typing, together with the contextual spellcheck.  No more enigmatic pen shuffling nonsense - participants will see the message appear in the wave as soon as it is created. 
  • Drag and drop features - where anything on your desktop, file or previous wave can be dragged into a new one, and edited by anyone connected to the wave.  
  • The potential for collaboration.  This just takes Google Docs to an entirely different level! 
  • Playback allows you to catch up on how the wave developed, following sequential additions from the whole group, or individual participants. This also facilitates accountability as each wave can be audited (inspired by version control).

Mashable have written a decent review of the initial presentation, and have even managed to gain developer access to the alpha version.  Both pieces make good reading.

Wave looks like a gigantic leap forward in terms of web development, with the race to create the first apps already well under way.  

Google Wave

Created on Monday June 01 2009 07:06 AM


Tags: freedom-of-information google google-wave technology web-development


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Villagers stage protest over Google Streetview

Pitchfork rabble roused by Google's latest featI wasn't overly surprised at seeing today's leading article on the BBC Technology page.  Google's Streetview project has precipitated much debate on topics ranging from personal privacy to crime since its official launch two weeks ago.  In this instance, residents of a small town in Buckinghamshire physically blocked the passage of a Google streetview car, insisting angrily that the invasion of their privacy was too much to bear. 

I empathise, having felt a deep uneasiness at seeing my front garden two clicks into a Google search.  We are all well aware of increased surveillance and presence of cameras within city centres, but for me this goes a bit too far.

There are benefits to the service though, that I shall no doubt take advantage of.  It will make visits to unknown destinations much easier for a start, as you will literally be able to trace a virtual journey from your start point to destination.

The biggest question I have is what the real purpose of Streetview is.  How do Google propose to monetise this new feature?  I'm guessing a merge between Google Adwords and Local Business Centre (once they sort through their algorithm problems) will allow businesses to advertise their products and services from a virtual shop front, but surely this has already been done more effectively by Second Life?

With Microsoft's plans to launch a rival service later this year on beta, my head shakes with Luddite pensiveness.  This new technology could either take off and thrive in a social networking fashion, or wither away under a backlash of suspicion.  I'm not entirely convinced either way but will be interested to see what the general consensus will be once the launch hype has died down and people start experimenting with both Streetview and GeoSynth.




Big news and long journeys

Well it felt like ages since I've added anything to the FNM blog, and upon checking it turns out my last words of wisdom (!) were back in February! It's been an incredibly busy year and as a result we have some big, exciting news to announce in the first week of November - but lips are sealed until then I'm afraid (don't even think about bribing Lisa or Amy with chocolate to find out).

Before all that I'm off to the other side of the world for a few weeks travelling, lying around, seeing some incredible sights and raw fish. Prize to the first person to guess where I'm going.

Thought I would leave with - at last - an article mentioning concerns over Google's continued collection of personal data:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7599342.stm

The guys in the office have been well and truly bored with my rantings about this, so I won't repeat them here. But just to say that if Smart cars with Microsoft were being driven round the country taking photographs of everyone's houses, there would be uproar...

 

 

Simon Newing
Simon

Created on Friday September 26 2008 03:32 PM


Tags: google microsoft


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Has Google's 'Dewey Update' upset your SERPS?

Keeping abreast of SEO news is just one of the many things we try to keep tabs on here at Focus Towers.  Mumblings and grumblings about Google's latest update - termed the "Dewey Update" after a blog post from Matt Cutts - have been growing over the past few weeks.

Has this affected your site rankings?

I'd be really interested to get any feedback from anyone affected by this latest change.

Links
Surviving the Dewey Update 
Dewey Discussion
Spanish SEO commentary
Useful tool comparing searches across disparate data centres

Created on Tuesday April 29 2008 02:47 PM


Tags: blog google seo


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Okkam Customises Searches

Okkam SearchFinding a recommended restaurant took up a large part of my lunchtime today, even though I was told its name and general location.  This common irritation could be a thing of the past if Okkam takes off in the next few years.

We have previously mentioned rivals to Google's domination of the online search, just as we've touched on the importance that such a powerful tool has on our ability to retrieve relevant information from the ever-expanding web.

Okkam - an academic initiative from Trento University - is finding a better way to publish, link and find information using a “web of entities”.   It will put information into context, making it possible to identify 'Paris' as an annoying, talentless celebrity, as opposed to the capital of France, for example.

Still in the early stages, it appears that the success of the project will depend largely upon how widely it is taken up in the first two years.  The target for 2008 is to get a million 'entities' on board, with use by application developers crucial to its long term success.

Already big in Portugal, it will be interesting to see how long it will take for Okkam to join Google in the British vernacular.

Created on Wednesday March 12 2008 05:23 PM


Tags: google seo web-development


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The democratisation of information


We've just read Jay Adelson's piece regarding the democratisation of information, care of the internet's burgeoning blogging community.  He describes the situation well - the way we assimilate knowledge is changing due to the proliferation of 'news' outlets (we're all increasing coming across information regarding new technologies from independent blogs and not from conventional news sites). 

Despite this explosion of information I think the power still lies with Google.  You can only access a fraction of what is out there without a search engine and the rules that govern SEO are constantly being rewritten.  Which really means that those complying with Google's latest guidelines get the largest amount of traffic.

Created on Wednesday February 20 2008 11:33 AM


Tags: blog google media seo technology web-development


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I want that one.......

Todays fairly hefty news is confirmation of rumours that Microsoft wants to buy Yahoo.

Can't say it's the biggest surprise in the world, Yahoo was formerly the internet's favourite showpiece but in recent years has taken a good beating from Google, and Microsoft has been royally annoyed by Google expanding it's services into email and desktop software - pretty much monopolised by MS to this point.

We'll have to see what happens - my guess is given the valuation, timing and stalemate of Yahoo's current position, it'll be an offer they can't refuse. 

 

Simon Newing
Simon

Created on Friday February 01 2008 03:45 PM


Tags: google microsoft technology


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