Favorite Places on Google Maps Just Got Smarter

maps-favCrown Point Design was recently recognized by Google as a favorite location on Google Maps. We received a letter from Google that included a 5×7 decal that is meant to be placed in your storefront window. On the decal there is a unique 1×1 inch bar code that can be scanned by a Smartphone by curious shoppers. After scanning the bar code they will be directed to the company local listing on Google that includes things like store description, hours of operation, and customer reviews.

This unique technology is part of what Google Maps is developing as a ‘Favorite Places’ feature.

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Marketers need to start thinking like smartphones

mobil-usersIn a recent study by eMarketer, the most popular and rapidly adopted personal technology in the world is mobile devices. There are an estimated 4.6 billion subscribes worldwide who account for nearly 70 percent of the world’s population.  Of the top countries include the US, Brazil, Russia, India, and China and this industry has seen significant growth in every year of this decade.

Gartner, a leading market research provider, predicts that by 2013 nearly half of all worldwide mobile phones will be smart phones with the ability to access the internet.

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Google Search Helps Real Estate Industry

goog-mapsGoogle has recently rolled out new functionality in Google Maps to help find homes for sale. According to a post on the Google Australia Blog, “Some of us have been working on a particularly interesting project that combines Google Maps and search technology – we’ve been trying to work out if your search query in Google Maps means you’re interested in having current real estate listings returned to you.” Full article

Try typing “real estate [my zip code]” into a Google Maps search query and see what happens…

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Domain Names Going Global With IDNs

idnsThe way the internet is being used around the world is about to change with the announcement that non-Latin domain names have been approved and fast-tracked for early-mid 2010. Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), is the governing body behind domain names, internet protocol addresses, and many other aspects of the Net. ICANN has has discussed the topic of International Domain Names or IDNs for several years and has finally made plans to make this possible.

This means that you will see domain names in Chinese, Japanese, Arabic and manty other languages that are non-Latin.

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Browser Compatibility – Does your site look the same?

browser labMany people are not aware that different web browsers may display your website differently if it is not properly coded in the back end. Internet Explorer (IE), Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and Google Chrome are some of the top browsers in terms of market share (96.9% of the market in Sept. 09 according to w3schools.com). The issue is that there is no set of standards for how the browser displays all aspects of your web page’s HTML code. Some browsers make assumptions about HTML code that is not defined while others do not. This can create very big issues for poorly designed websites. Users may be taken back when things are out of place or the template gets distorted in a way outside of the designer’s initial intent.

The way to test is easy, pull up your website in each of the 4 major browsers and look for any differences in the page design. A well coded website should not display any differences. If you come across major elements of a page being out of place, it is directly related to a poorly coded website.

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Does Your Website Have A Favorites Icon?

FaviconA Favorites Icon, also known as a favicon, is an often overlooked branding tool that every website should have. It is displayed differently by each browser, but in most cases  is shown to the left of the URL or opened Tab. It also always appears in the Favorites Folder or Bookmarks, so people can easily find the site they are looking for.

A favicon can only be 16×16 pixels, which is very small. Here are some tips to keep in mind when designing your favicon:

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You Don’t Need SEO You Need Internet Marketing

Internet Marketing StrategyMany small businesses with a new or small web presence get stuck in the trap that investing in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will solve their web problems and drive traffic. As a search engine optimizer I can say that is not the case. Small businesses are better off investing in an Internet Marketing strategy that incorporates many aspects of web related marketing.

If you have a new website launched on a new domain and you are in a competitive industry, it is going to take a long time to gain competitive search rankings. Likewise if your website is small (5-15 pages) and is rarely updated with fresh content, you are going to have a hard time gaining results overnight.

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TVs Getting Involved in the Internet

netflixWhile recently shopping for a new HD LCD Television I was shocked to learn how far the technology has come. Most of the new high end televisions are now providing Ethernet connections to access the Internet. This has allowed TVs to add online widgets for live weather, local news, traffic updates, sports scores, and much more.

In one CNET review I watched about an LG TV, I learned about Netflix streaming which allows you to connect to your online Netflix account and essentially watch any movie within your que.

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Bing Helps find the Lowest Costs for Airfare

Bing Price PredictorThe new search engine by Microsoft, Bing.com, offers a great tool for travelers looking for low prices on flights. The tool combines two methods for users to find the best deal:

1)      Airfare deals – The tool searches all flights from the major carriers and provides them in order from the lowest cost. The intuitive search tool allows you to specify your travel times and specific needs. This is similar to other flight searching sites like Kayak, Orbitz, and Priceline.

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Are You Ready For The Wave?

Google Wave Release

Google today released the beta version of their ground breaking web technology Google Wave to a closed group of 100,000 testers. The final test group will help Google locate the remaining bugs in the product before its highly anticipated release later this year.

Wave has been a highly talked about product ever since its announcement last May at Google I/O 2009. The ground breaking technology combines elements of e-mail, wiki, chat, blogs, and more into one robust communication platform. The Australian brothers who head up the project are the same developers that gave us the highly used Google Maps functionality.

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