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Google has bought PostRank – an analytics firm which claims to make sense
from the likes of Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites.
PostRank looks at the top 20 social sites in order to help sites and
companies better engage their audience, and check on how the opposition is
Its product already integrates with Google’s own Analytics but presumably
this integration will improve. Many companies are struggling with social
networking marketing, and finding numbers to justify that investment.
PostRank will move to Google’s Mountain View headquarters from its current
offices in Ontario.
PostRank said it was excited at the move because Google both
understands the importance of the data it collects and has the reach to spread
it to millions of users.
PostRank launched in 2007. Financial terms were not disclosed. ®
Google is phasing out support for older browsers from 1 August.
Those using IE7, Safari 3, Firefox 3.5 and their predecessors to view Gmail, Google Calendar, Talk, Docs and Sites will then lose some functions.
Eventually, it warned, these web services will stop working for those sticking with older browsers.
The move is part of a trend to stop the use of ageing browsers which can be insecure and not sophisticated enough to handle the latest web
Statistics on browser
versions gathered by StatCounter suggest about 17% need to change in the
light of Google’s decision.
Google made its announcement in a blogpost saying its engineers were keen to make
use of the latest capabilities in browsers, and that required support for HTML5
As a result, from 1 August, Google will only support what it calls “modern
browsers”. By this it means the latest versions and major prior releases of
Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari.
As new versions of these are released, Google will get its web services
working with that and then drop support for the third-oldest version.
Support in this sense means that Google will only do compatibility testing
with more up-to-date browsers. It will make not test with older programmes and
can make guarantees that web services will work with them.
Concluding the blogpost, Venkat Panchapakesan, vice president of engineering
at Google, wrote: “These new browsers are more than just a modern convenience,
they are a necessity for what the future holds.”
In mid-May, Mozilla, which oversees development of Firefox, kicked off a plan
to get the 12 million or so people using version 3.5 of its browser to
It said it was “frustrated” with efforts to get people to upgrade and had taken
a series of steps to force change.
It used pop-up screens, adverts, re-directs and updates to steer people
towards more recent versions of Firefox.
Figures gathered by Mozilla suggest the campaign has had some success as the
number of users on Firefox 3.5 has now dropped to about one million.
Microsoft’s campaign to stop people using Internet Explorer 6 is one of the
longest running upgrade efforts.
The software giant has used its automatic update system to get newer versions
of its browser out to many users.
However, many companies prefer not to use this system and that has meant IE6
clinging on in some firms and nations.
Globally about 11% of browsers are IE6, suggest
figures compiled by Microsoft, and there is a wide variation around the
About 34% of Chinese net users are on IE6, as are 22.3% of South Koreans and
11.6% of Vietnamese people.
Open source engineers rejoice! WordPress has released an official update with WordPress 3.1.3 which promises to enhance the security of millions of WordPress installations on the Internet. The latest wordpress update features improved security, taxonomy query hardening, prevention of sniffing out user names of non-authors by using canonical redirects, media upload security related issues fixed by Microsoft team, improved file uploads security, better clean up of old wordpress imported files if the import does not finish properly and clickjacking protection on admin & login pages.
You may download WordPress 3.1.3 or upgrade it automatically from your WordPress administration control panel. WordPress developers have also released the second beta of WordPress 3.2, which promises lot of graphical enhancements over earlier versions. WP developers estimate the release candidates of 3.2 version by early next month and the final version by June end. The beta 2 adds support to Google Chrome Frame for the WP ACP. The admincp, otherwise, would look broken in IE6. IE7 related enhancements have made to make the admin control panel look ‘less ugly’. In addition, jQuery 1.6.1 support has been incorporated. You may download WordPress 3.2 (Beta 2) by clickinghere.
Microsoft has been chasing Google in the search market for close to a decade. During that chase, the software giant has tried nearly everything to differentiate itself from Google, including providing its users with shopping discounts from major retailers.
When Microsoft launched Bing in 2009, the company touted the new search product as a discovery engine — one that provided a user-friendly alternative to Google’s “10 blue links” — which Microsoft executives contended provide a lousy user experience.
And while Bing still trails Google in market share by a wide margin, despite Microsoft’s search deal with Yahoo, Bing leapt past Google last fall when it struck a deal with Facebook to incorporate users’ likes into its search results. Just recently the two companies expanded that pact ; when conducting searches Bing users can now see Facebook like results from users who aren’t necessarily friends.
Could social be Microsoft’s opening? For one, Bing may be able to leverage social search results to unearth ecommerce opportunities for brands. Targeting users who like particular brands could also prove to be a powerful customer retention tool.
“Online, people are increasingly looking to their friends for advice and opinions, and search is a place many people go to complete tasks, making it a natural place for this information to come together,” stated a Microsoft spokesperson. “The enhancements to our social search offerings allow people to take their friends with them to search, helping them make faster, more informed decisions with the help of their friends. This is one of many steps in a long term partnership, and people can expect to see more from Bing and Facebook in the future.”
Yahoo is giving its popular email service a long-promised facelift in an attempt
to make it more appealing to people who are increasingly using Facebook,
Twitter, Google and other online alternatives to communicate.
The changes announced Tuesday build upon a redesigned email format that Yahoo began testing seven months ago. The estimated 277 million
users of Yahoo’s free email service will be switched to the new version during the next few weeks.
The overhaul will enable updates to Facebook and Twitter accounts to be posted from within Yahoo’s email boxes. The revamped service is
supposed to be two times faster and capable of sending attachments of up to 100 megabytes. Other tools include better junk-mail controls and the ability to chat
with friends and family logged into Facebook.
Yahoo is counting on the changes to help attract and retain email users at a time when more people are flocking to the rival Gmail service
run by Internet search leader Google.
Although Yahoo’s service remains larger than Gmail, it has been losing ground in the past year. Through April, Yahoo boasted 277 million
email users worldwide, a drop of about 3 million, or 1 percent, from the same time last year, according to the research firm comScore Inc. Meanwhile, Gmail
had grown to 220 million wordwide users, up 43 million, or 24 percent during the past year.
Most of Gmail’s gains appear to be coming at the expense of Microsoft’s Hotmail service, which remained the global leader with 327 million
users, according to comScore. But that figure was down 27 million, or 8 percent, from last year.
Cultivating loyal email users is important because they tend to be frequent visitors and they often remain logged in when using other
online services run by the email providers. The return trips and logged-in activity creates more opportunities to show Internet ads, the main way that both
Yahoo and Google make money.
Yahoo, though, hasn’t been luring as many advertisers as Google for years, a problem that has weighed on Yahoo’s stock.
The email upgrade is expected to be among the signs of progress that Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz emphasizes Wednesday when she and other top
company executives are scheduled to update analysts on their turnaround plan.
Google predicts a tenfold up-swing in online advertising over the next few years, the VP of Google Advertising told the Financial Times today.
Google expects online display advertising will zoom up from being a $24bn industry currently to a $200bn+ industry by 2015, said the Google VP Neal Mohan.
Note – it’s far from just display ads though – another area expected to boom is video advertisements pasted in before editorial video – especially as internet and TV converge – and mobile advertising is expected to grow significantly as well.
One Google tool that could revolutionize online advertising is the automated ad-buying machine they have been demo-ing out. Called Double Click Ad Exchange, it’s like a stock market for advertising and allows publishers to sell ads to publishers at super-short notice. Using an algorithm to factor in prices and budgets it matches adverts to publishers depending on the time of day and the content being viewed.
It cuts the cost of ad selling significantly – from 28 cents in each dollar spent to 2 cents, said Neal Mohan. That, in theory leaves more for the publishers – Google said they saw a 188 per cent lift in revenue as a result of participating in its ad exchange.
Obviously it’s a very different model to traditional media ad-buying – and could have a serious impact on the model of how publishers make money in the next five years.
WordPress has discontinued support for IE6, as more web firms add pressure on users to stop using the decade-old browser.
In the latest minor update to its blogging software, users will not be able to login if using Internet Explorer 6, and will be shown
a link to upgrade.
“It has required increasingly complex code trickery to make the WordPress dashboard work in the IE6 browser, which was
introduced ten years ago and does not support current web standards,” said head of user experience Jane Wells on the WordPress blog.
The blogging platform isn’t just targeting Internet Explorer, but any old browser.
“While we were at it, we started looking at other older browsers, and it makes us cringe a little when we see people
using them, because the web could be so much better for them (not to mention more secure) if they would update to their favorite browser’s current version,”
“Starting with this update, if you log in to your WordPress site using an outdated browser, an orange alert will appear on your Dashboard screen letting you know, and will provide links to the browser updates and to Browse Happy, where you can learn a little more about your
The move to push users off IE6 mirrors Microsoft’s own efforts, including a countdown clock that tracks how many people are still using the older browser.
The new version also updates the dashboard, bringing new fonts, menu adjustments and new icons, “that we think are less distracting and fit better,” Wells said.
WordPress has also fixed the full-screen mode to make it easier to read. Wells said the changes were designed to make it easier to write on the platform.
“Everything about this feature revamp is designed to relax you, and allow you to find your groove without distraction,” she said.
A new survey has indicated that businesses have fully embraced open source software, realising the reduced costs and flexibility that it offers.
The results of the ‘Future of Open Source Survey’ were announced at the Open Source Business Conference (OSBC) in San Francisco, by North Bridge Venture Partners.
The survey was conducted in a partnership with The 451 Group, including more than 20 collaborators like Red Hat, Cloudera, Acquia and JPMorgan Chase.
Highlighting the growth of open source software, North Bridge revealed that around 60 percent of the survey’s 450 respondents were open source users. The survey also found that around 56 percent of the respondents believe that more than half of the software purchased in the next five years will be open source.
“When we started this survey five years ago, open source was still a movement that was in its nascent stages and its future was promising but still unknown,” said Michael Skok, a general partner with North Bridge.
“The results of this year’s survey clearly demonstrate that open source has gone mainstream, not just within the vendor community, but within customer organizations of all types and sizes.”
Google is rolling out social search in 19 new languages in a bid to improve its core service with the addition of content from people’s friends
Social search first launched in October 2009, and has allowed participating countries to see information from social networks, such as Facebook, in the body of Google’s search results.
In order to use social search, users need to be logged into a Google profile. Google will then suggest connections to those listed as friends on users’ publicly available social network profile information and by crawling their Gmail contacts, (if they have a Gmail account).
Once these details have been tracked for the first time, search results from social networks will always appear at the bottom of the page with a note of which network the information has been pulled from.
The expansion of the service comes on heels of Facebook having admitted hiring a PR company to spread smear stories about Google’s use of people’s private information to improve its service. Facebook is understood to have been annoyed about Google being able to use its data without permission to power services like its social search.
Yohann Coppel, a Google software engineer, wrote on the company blog: “In 2009 we first introduced Social Search on google.com as an experimental feature designed to help you find more relevant information from your friends and the people you care about. Since then we’ve been making steady improvements to connect you with more people and more relevant web results. Today, we’re bringing Social Search to more users around the globe.