Friday, September 23, 2011

Prepare Your Business for Google+

Google+ just opened its doors to the world by enabling open signups and moving to the beta, testing phase. The nascent social network is still thin on features and ways for businesses to properly use it, but its minimalist approach has gained Google+ millions of users in a very short period.

If you've tried it out for yourself, you'll know that making your way around Google+ is a simplistic, uncluttered experience compared to that of Facebook.
Back in July, Google promised that business profiles and features would be coming later, and as we get a little closer to when they are supposed to be announced later in 2011, it's time to position your business to take advantage in advance.
What's Coming for Business in Google+?
Google is preparing Google+ for businesses, as Christian Oestlien, Product Manager for Google+, explains in the video below. Rich analytics and the ability to connect to AdWords will be among those features.

Advertising will likely happen when Google rolls out business features, as Oestlien has stated that AdWords will play a part in the new business features. The ability to extend an existing advertising campaign into Google+ where you can target your client's interests will be invaluable. This will also extend Google's ability to advertise to local users for businesses that only offer services within a specific geographic area, exactly as you can on Facebook.
Stake Your Claim on Google+
Google has asked businesses to hold off on claiming user profiles for their businesses on Google+ until it rolls out certain features. This means that companies will likely have their own pages as they currently do on Facebook. As soon as Google+ business features are announced, you'll want to claim your company's home on Google+ by tasking someone in your company to watch for the announcement and setting up your Google+ business profile as soon as it comes.
You'll also want to stick with your company's real name. While it will be tempting to grab other names, such as keywords related to your business or misspelled versions of your company name, I suspect this practice will very likely be against Google policy. In addition to being your home on Google+, your business profile will be a valuable back-link for search engine optimization purposes.
If you've logged on and noticed that someone has taken your company name, don't panic. What they have created is not a business profile, and those are likely to be a little harder to establish than a user profile. This person is likely not from Coca-Cola, for example. Google has been actively cracking down on people who aren't using accounts for personal use only, and you can expect to be shut down if you try.
Prepare a list of influential people in your industry that you can apply later to your Google+ business profile.

What Edge Will Google+ Have Over Facebook?
What Edge Will Google+ Have Over Facebook? Google+ will have a hard slog against Facebook. It will directly compete with the social network that has consistently gotten it right, especially when it comes to business use. Facebook's recently launched business portal is a great all-in-one tool for businesses to manage their presence on Facebook.
Google+ also lacks Facebook's user base of 800 million, although the Google+ user base has blown through 20 million so far and is steadily increasing.
Google's biggest ally against Facebook is Facebook itself. Facebook users have been getting ornery about its massive makeover rolled out this week, to the point where many may look at Google+ as a viable, pared-down alternative. The new Facebook Timeline should be a big concern for all of those new hires in the marketplace who may not want their frat-party status updates resurrected for co-workers on Facebook to see.
There is also the issue of demographics. Google+ is young-adult rich. This is the golden demographic that most marketers want to reach, and being able to reach it through a campaign that can be tracked through Google Analytics is a very attractive value proposition. In addition, there are other tie-in services Google could build into its features for business, which we have covered here.

How Can I Prepare My Ad Campaigns?
Prepare your ad campaigns for Google+You can start researching targeted ad campaigns and the keywords you'll need to use so that when Google+ for business is launched, all you'll need to do is push a button. The first businesses to get on the more competitive keywords on Google+ will likely reap some rich rewards.
Prepare Content for Your Profile
A Google+ business profile is likely to follow the model of the current Google+ user profile. Have a concise, one paragraph description of your company ready, as well as any company logos and product photos that you would want to add. Make sure that your "About" paragraph contains relevant keywords for your business, just like your website copy does.
If we follow the model of the current user profile, videos will be an option as well. If you don't already have a product or company video, consider shooting one, since this can set you apart from your competitors in Google+.
Get Comfortable With Hangouts and Huddles
Google+ Hangouts and Huddles appear extremely useful for videoconferencing and cloud collaboration, and as a webcast platform. While they aren't a replacement for services like GoToMeeting yet, they do a great basic job and may be expanded on in the future.
While we can't say exactly when the new business features will be announced, they're promised for later in 2011, which could mean anytime between now and the end of the year. Prepare your company to hop on as soon as you can.

Lights, Camera, Conversation — Tamil-cinema blues

I hadn't seen a Tamil movie in a while. I convinced myself that wild horses couldn't drag me to the Vikram-starring “Deiva Thirumagal,” which a number of people said was adapted from “I Am Sam.” The problem wasn't the adaptation (if you look at it charitably; “theft” if you want to be brutal) – it's that I do not, anymore, have the stomach for the spectacle of big-name actors brandishing their talents like fireworks in a night sky, playing (I'm looking for the politically correct word here) people with special needs.
I could barely endure Sean Penn doing it (in “I Am Sam”) and Ajay Devgan doing it (in the Hindi adaptation, “Main Aisa Hi Hoon”), and I couldn't bring myself to see Vikram doing it – and it's not because he isn't a good performer. He is. It's just that suspension of disbelief becomes difficult with a long-established actor. We don't lose ourselves in the character because it's the actor who looms before our eyes and we say “look how well this actor is playing that character,” which is not the case when an unknown plays the part.
“Mankatha” I could not see because life took over the weekend it was released, and once you miss something in its first week it becomes increasingly difficult to catch up because other films, newer films, keep getting released and the older ones get elbowed into the background. But this is a film I intend to see for a number of reasons.
One, it's a blockbuster (from what I hear), and as a critic you have to watch the big hits because they tell you what the popular pulse is (and how far from it you usually are). Two, it has Ajith in a negative role (again, from what I hear; I keep away from reviews and interviews until I watch the film so that the mind can remain as much a blank slate as possible). And three, Venkat Prabhu has become a front-line director, and though he's never really lived up to the utterly charming promise he showed in “Chennai-600028” – his subsequent films, “Saroja” and “Goa” were the very definition of diminishing returns – his has become a career worth following.
So when Friday arrived and brought with it two new Tamil releases, I opted for “Vandhan Vendraan” (directed by R Kannan and starring the numerologically empowered Jiiva) over “Engeyum Eppodhum” (directed by M Saravanan, and with Jai and Anjali in the lead). The first ten minutes, pivoting on the casual cruelties of children, are gripping, and then, like a train that's gathered speed only to discover that the tracks have disappeared, the film nosedives into an abyss.
Just about everything that can go wrong goes wrong. Santhanam saunters in with his comedy track – very funny at times, I admit – but his clowning lets the air out of a plot that should have ballooned with pressure. In this mutilation of the film's mood, he is aided by a clutch of badly placed songs and a screenplay that lumbers clumsily between the present and the past and characters who happen upon each other so conveniently it's as if they closed their eyes and thought of who they wanted to meet and were there when they opened their eyes.
And then there's the heroine. Am I the only one disheartened by fair-skinned women who look great frozen on magazine covers but, when thawed on screen, perform like they've arrived from an alien planet? In close-ups, their eyes bulge and their nostrils flare up like infant dragons preparing to spew smoke, and their fingers slash through the air in feral gesticulations even as their lips assume positions that could never form the words we hear in the dialogue on the soundtrack.
Tamil film heroes routinely demonstrate their bravery not by battling burly villains but by facing these actresses mid-performance and not running for their lives. Forget the suspension-of-disbelief issue with Vikram in “Deiva Thirumagal – these girls don't just break the fourth wall, they lunge through the gaping hole and land on our laps as we cower in terror. I am baffled that the female populace of Tamil Nadu hasn't taken to processions of protest at being so offensively misrepresented. This isn't a plea for the banishment of beauty, but isn't anyone alarmed that the Tamil woman on screen has mutated into an alabaster automaton?

Google's Jim Henson doodle lets you be the puppeteer

If you're going to make a Google doodle to celebrate what would have been Muppet master Jim Henson's 75th birthday, September 24, there's no point doing it by halves.
Henson didn't.
So Google worked with both the Jim Henson Company and the Creature Shop to allow everyone in the world to become a puppeteer for a day.
This delightful doodle lets you operate six new, engaging Henson characters digitally.

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Google's Jim Henson doodle lets you be the puppeteer

If you're going to make a Google doodle to celebrate what would have been Muppet master Jim Henson's 75th birthday, September 24, there's no point doing it by halves.
Henson didn't.
So Google worked with both the Jim Henson Company and the Creature Shop to allow everyone in the world to become a puppeteer for a day.
This delightful doodle lets you operate six new, engaging Henson characters digitally.

You are given a hand with which to operate each character. Click on that hand once, the puppet will follow your mouse pointer. Click twice and the puppet opens its mouth.
Yes, you can pretend that your favorite puppet is saying: "What the jumpin' blazes is going down there at Yahoo?!!"
Or: "Groupon? Ya lost any COO's lately?"
Or even: "HP? That's brown sauce in some places, right?"
Henson died aged 53 in 1990, yet his legacy, including characters from "Sesame Street" and "The Muppet Show," has wafted merrily into cultural history.
Google's little homage is a fine tribute to a man who, apparently, began every one of his new creations with, well, a doodle.

Dish unveils Blockbuster Movie Pass media bundle

Dish Network unveiled today the "Blockbuster Movie Pass," a bundle of services that includes streaming video; DVDs; Blu-Rays and games by mail; and access to premium movie channels. The catch: you need to be a Dish Network customer.

The service will launch October 1. Existing Dish subscribers can sign up for the package for an additional $10 a month. New customers who sign up for Dish's America's Top 200 package for $39.99 a month get access to the service for a year.
"More Americans are demanding an easier way to view their video," said Dish CEO Joe Clayton. "There is an easier way to have it."
The service could potentially breathe new life into Blockbuster, as well as drive subscriber growth for parent Dish. Dish subscribers, meanwhile, could be convinced to switch away from rival streaming service Netflix.
The timing couldn't be better, with Netflix dealing with the fallout from a price increase in its DVD-and-streaming plan and now scrambling to explain why it is splitting its DVD and streaming services into separate businesses. Over the past few months, the company has taken a beating from both consumers and investors. The backlash resulted in Chief Executive Reed Hastings issuing an apology.
Blockbuster has made steady progress since sliding into bankruptcy a year ago. The company, which still relies on brick-and-mortar stores to rent out its DVDs, was saddled with too many physical locations when the industry was moving to DVD-by-mail and streaming service. Sure, it offers DVDs by mail and a limited streaming service, but the customer base pales in comparison to that of Netflix. Satellite-TV provider Dish Network scooped up the company for $228 million, considered to be a bit of a head-scratching move at the time by Dish founder Charles Ergen.
Dish, however, was quick to revitalize Blockbuster, expressing confidence in the business and insisting that it would keep 1,500 of its stores running. Dish could also use the physical locations as another outlet to sell its core satellite-TV service. After Netflix raised its prices in July, Dish sent notices to media outlets "reminding" them about Blockbuster's low prices and digital download service.

Facebook's colonization of the Web gains steam

Facebook CTO Bret Taylor says at F8 that the main goal for Open Graph is to keep things simple.
(Credit: James Martin/CNET) About a year ago I wrote about Facebook's growing dominance of the social Web casting a huge shadow over the Internet of people. At that time the service had 500 million users. In his F8 keynote yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg said that as many as 500 million people used Facebook in a single day, with the total Facebook tribe approaching 800 million.
According to Experian Hitwise, Facebook had a 10 percent share of Internet visits in the U.S. for the week ending Sept. 17, followed by Google at 7 percent. Among social networks, Facebook garnered more than 65 percent share of visits, compared with YouTube at 19.5 percent for the same time period.

With the new Open Graph and other features, Facebook is not only capturing the data of your life and delivering new kinds of social interactions and experiences on line, but also deeply entangling (in the quantum sense, one object cannot be fully described without considering the others) a large portion of humans on the planet in its service.
Zuckerberg and team are moving as fast as they can to make Facebook a place where people can live online, with every application social and tied into Facebook's matrix, or platform. "The next five years are going to be defined by the apps and depth of engagement," Zuckerberg told the F8 crowd.
"All those activities people perform with these apps -- listening to a Bjork tune, reading about same-sex marriage laws, cooking Arroz con Pollo, running four miles, donating to Amnesty International -- will be stored permanently and made accessible (if the user allows it) on a greatly enhanced profile page that will essentially become a remote-control autobiography," wrote Wired's Steven Levy.
With Facebook's new kinds of apps, users can allow others to see what music they listen to and to view and their listening history, and join them in listening to a song, which is also great for the music services looking to sign up new paying subscribers.
Facebook's ongoing colonization of the Web, by continuing to innovate and offer more engaging services to its substantial base of users, will result in an increase of its share of visits, visitors, time spent on the service, and revenue. A more than $100 billion valuation is not out of the question.
Of course, any user is free to leave the Facebook world, and seek a home elsewhere--such as with Google+ or on other social platforms. But leaving the colony, where a person has spent "many months or years curating the stories of their life and sharing them on Facebook's platform," as Zuckerberg described his vision for the future, will become increasingly difficult as their Facebook interactions and entanglements grow more dense.

Ajith says that the Chief Minister Jayalalitha is like a mother to him

Actor Ajith Kumar said that Chief Minister J Jayalalitha treated him as if he is her son. In a recent interview while speaking about the meeting with the Jayalalitha, he said, " I can never forget when Jayalalitha attended my marriage and showered her blessings on us. Shalini and I had been to Jayalalitha Amma’s Poes Garden residence. He showered her love as if I was her own son." 

When asked Ajith that whether he was threatened by the ex Chief Minister M Karunanidhi for his out spoken speech in a film function, he said, "I am a person who believes in democracy. I will give great respect to all the political leaders. I spoke my views very frankly in that function. There was no other intention. My beloved ex Chief Minister also came in person to my marriage and showered his blessings. This will always be in my heart."
Moreover while speaking, he said, " I am aged 40 years now. I don’t know whether I will live for another 20 years. A person’s identity is that how he lives. The amount of people who gather for a person’s funeral will determine that how the person has lived. People who gather for my funeral will show the whole world that who Ajith Kumar is." 

தமிழக அரசியல் களம் மாறியது - சட்டசபையில் கூட்டு: உள்ளாட்சியில்

சென்னை: தமிழகத்தில் கடந்த சட்டசபை தேர்தலில் அ.தி.மு.க., வுடன் கூட்டணி அமைத்து போட்டியிட்ட விஜயகாந்த் தலைமையிலான தே.மு.தி.க., நடக்கவிருக்கும் உள்ளாட்சி தேர்தலில் தனித்து போட்டியிடுவது என முடிவு செய்துள்ளது. அதே நேரத்தில் அ.தி.மு.க., வுடனான கூட்டணியில் முறிவு ஏற்பட்டுள்ளது என்பதை வெளிப்படையாக இரு கட்சிகளும் அறிவிக்கவில்லை என்பது குறிப்பிடத்தக்கது.

வரும் அக்., 17 மற்றும் 19 தேதிகளில் இரண்டு கட்டமாக தமிழக உள்ளாட்சி தேர்தல் நடக்கவிருக்கிறது. இதற்கான வேட்பாளர் பட்டியலை மாநகராட்சி, நகராட்சி, மற்றும் பேரூராட்சி வாரியாக அ.தி.மு.க, வெளியிட்டு வருகிறது. இதற்கு கூட்டணியில் உள்ள கம்யூ., தனது கோபத்தை வெளிப்படையாக ( இது கூட்டணி தர்மத்திற்கு நல்லது அல்ல ) பதிவு செய்தது. ஆனால் கூட்டணியில் இருக்கும் முக்கிய தே.மு.தி.க., எவ்வித கருத்தும் தெரிவிக்காமல் இருந்து வந்தது. கடந்த சில தினங்களுக்கு முன்னர் கூட மதுரை வந்த போது நிருபர்கள் கேள்விக்கு அரசியல் பேச விரும்பவில்லை என்று ஒதுங்கி கொண்டார். 

தே.மு.தி.க., வேட்பாளர் பட்டியல் : இந்நிலையில் தே.மு.தி.க., இன்று தனது வேட்பாளர் பட்டியலை அறிவிக்க துவங்கியிருக்கிறது. இதன்படி 9 மாநகராட்சிக்கான வேட்பாளர் பட்டியலின்படி சென்னை- வேல்முருகன், கோவை- பாண்டியன், வேலூர்-சத்தியவாணி, தூத்துக்குடி-ராஜேஸ்வரி, சேலம்- இளங்கோவன், ஈரோடு- சிவக்குமார்,திருப்பூர்- தினேஷ்குமார், மதுரை- கவியரசு, நெல்லை- சீத்தாலெட்சுமி ஆகியோர் அறிவிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளனர். இன்னும் அடுத்தக்கட்டமாக வேட்பாளர் பட்டியல் விரைவில் வெளிவரும் என்றும் அந்தக்கட்சி அ.தி.மு.க.,வுக்கு அதிர்ச்சியை கொடுத்திருக்கிறது.

குறைந்தது 6 முனை அல்லது 7 முனை : நடக்கவிருக்கும் இந்த தேர்தலில் இது வரை இல்லாத அதாவது கட்சிகள் அனைத்தும் தனித்தனியாக போட்டியிடும் வாய்ப்பு உருவாகியிருக்கிறது. காங்கிரசை தி.மு.க., கழற்றி விட்டது. ம.தி.மு.க., தனித்து போட்டியிடும் என வைகோ அறிவித்து வி‌ட்டார். பா.ம.க.,, விடுதலை சிறுத்தைகள் சவாரிக்கு யாரும் இடம் தராததால் தனித்து நிற்கிறது. தேசிய கட்சிகளான காங்கிரஸ், கம்யூ., பாஜ., கட்சிகள் என்ன செய்யப்போகிறது என்று இதுவரை முடிவு இல்லாமல் இருக்கிறது.

எதிர்பார்க்கும் வெற்றி வாய்ப்புகள் பலருக்கு பறிபோகும் : கடந்த சட்டசபை தேர்தலில் அ.தி.மு.க.,வுடனான கூட்டணியில் இருந்த கட்சிகள் தங்களுக்கு சீட் ஒதுக்குவதில் ஏற்பட்ட மனக்கசப்பு காரணமாக விரிசல் ஏற்பட்டது. கூட்டணி கட்சியினருடன் யாருக்கு எந்த தொகுதி என்று உடன்பாடு ஏற்படும் முன்பாக அ.தி.மு.க., போட்டியிடும் தொகுதிகள் மற்றும் வேட்பாளர் பட்டியல் அறிவிக்கப்பட்டது. நீண்ட காலமாக நண்பராக இருந்த ம.தி.மு.க.,வை மதிக்கவில்லை என்றும் தொகுதி ஒதுக்கீடு போதாது என்றும் வெளியேறியது. பின்னர் நடந்த சுமுக பேச்சின் காரணமாக தொகுதி, வேட்பாளர்கள் என மாற்றம் வந்தது. கடந்த காலம் போல் இந்த தேர்தலிலும் அ.தி.மு.க., கையாண்டதால் தே.மு.தி.க., எந்த பேச்சும் இல்லாமல் தனித்து போட்டி என அறிவித்து விட்டது. பலக்கட்சிகள் தனித்து போட்டியிடுவதால் ஓட்டுக்கள் சிதறி எதிர்பார்க்கும் வெற்றி வாய்ப்புகள் பலருக்கு பறிபோகும், சிலருக்கு அதிர்ஷ்டவசமாக கைகூடும்.

எப்படியோ தமிழகத்தில் இதுவரை இல்லாத அளவிற்கு குறைந்தது 6 முனை அல்லது 7 முனை போட்டி உருவாகியிருக்கிறது தமிழகம். கூட்டணி நிலை , அரசியல் காட்சிகள் மாறினாலும் , யாரை தேர்வு செய்வது, யாரை ஒதுக்குவது என வாக்காளர் குழப்பம் அடையாமல் இருந்தால் சரிதான்.

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