Another Try by Google to Take On Facebook

"Remember Google Buzz? What about Orkut, or Google Wave?

Google has tried several times, without much success, to take on Facebook and master social networking. Now it is making its biggest effort yet.

On Tuesday, Google introduced a social networking service called the Google+ project — which happens to look a lot like Facebook. The service, which is initially available to a select group of Google users who will soon be able to invite others, will let people share and discuss status updates, photos and links, much as they do on Facebook."

Read the complete article www.nytimes.com

Optimizing Your Google Places Page

 As increasing number of searches have local intent behind them, Google is showing Places listings in many more SERPs. This presents an opportunity to either gain a spot on the first page for many businesses or to gain more space on the first page for companies already ranking on the first page. Here are five things that I’ve seen impact rankings in Google Places.

Completeness & Consistency

There are several fields to fill out when creating or editing and some of them may not seem like they are really necessary. Google wants to give users the best experience possible; in most circumstances the user will have a better experience if there is more information present on the Places page. This means not only filling out the required text fields but also the optional ones:
 
  • Email address
  • Website
  • Description
  • Categories
Further, you should make sure the hours are accurate, that you have filled out additional details, as well as uploading photos and videos of your business. While these may seem auxiliary, they all count towards profile completeness and should be submitted. When filling out your profile, be as thorough as possible, doing much more than the minimum required.
 
Think about it like being back in in school and writing a paper; you'll pass doing the minimum set forth but a little extra effort can go a long way. Don't fill out some of the extra details, fill them all out; and don't just add one photo, add several photos.

>> Click here to read the rest of the post.

The Hotel Industry: A Global Year in Review

"For most industries, 2010 was a time of challenge, recovery and hope, as  many finally started to see a light at the end of the tunnel after what was likely the worst economic crisis of our time. For the hotel industry, it wasn't just the U.S. that has been slowly regaining momentum in sales and profits. In fact, markets around the world, including Europe and Asia, have seen vast improvements in hotel occupancy, rates and RevPAR, indicating great hope for the new year."

Read entire article by Jean Francois Mourier on www.ehotelier.com

Air travelers to get free in-flight Facebook access

"On the heels of offering free in-flight Wi-Fi to travelers during the holiday season, airlines are touting another incentive throughout the month of February: free Facebook access.

Various airlines are once again partnering with Gogo Inflight Internet to get passengers Web-connected when flying thousands of miles in the sky. Airlines that will be offering the promotion include American Airlines, AirTran, Alaska Airlines, Delta, United Airlines, US Airways and Virgin America.

Facebook access will be free for all, but full Wi-Fi connection will begin at $4.95 and will vary depending on the length of the flight. For long flights, airlines sometimes charge up to $13 for Wi-Fi access.

Gogo said that Facebook is the top-visited site by travelers. The company aims to get people excited and hooked on the in-flight Internet service during the promotion."

Read full article at Travel News at MSNBC

Facebook to let advertisers republish user posts

"Facebook users who check in to a store or click the "like" button for a brand may soon find those actions retransmitted on their friends' pages as a "Sponsored Story" paid for by advertisers.

Currently there is no way for users to decline this feature.

Facebook says this lets advertisers promote word-of-mouth recommendations that people already made on the site. They play up things people do on the site that might get lost in the mass of links, photos, status updates and other content users share on the world's largest social network."

Read the complete article on finance.yahoo.com

Define Social Innovation

"Social media isn’t innovative rather it is how, what and why people use it that creates innovation.

Consider the rate of change and interest in conversations.  People exchanging what they know with others and learning what others know. On the fringes is people leveraging both to discover what nobody knows, innovation.

Innovation is what fuels an economy. Without innovation things remain the same and with innovation things change, some dramatically."

Read the full article at The Relationship Economy

What consumers want most from a hotel in 2011

"Hotel offerings such as wireless Internet, babysitting services or even an on-site bar can make or break a consumer's decision to book a particular hotel property. So, what do consumers really want in a hotel? Orbitz thinks it has the answer."

Via www.hotelmarketing.com

Delta, American airlines pull fares off some travel sites

"Travelers wanting to book a flight online will find fewer options now that two of the nation's biggest airlines have stripped their fares from some travel sites.

Those looking to fly on American can no longer book trips on Orbitz as of Dec. 21, while Delta stopped allowing three websites — CheapOAir.com, OneTravel.com, and BookIt.com — to list its flights after Dec. 17.

It's a move that more airlines may follow in an effort to cut costs, promote their brand and increase their ability to sell aspects of the travel experience that bolster the bottom line, some travel experts say. But some industry observers worry that the winnowing of booking outlets could ultimately make it harder for consumers to find the best deal."

Read more at www.usatoday.com

Google’s Secret Social Initiative Delayed Until Spring 2011

"Google’s big social initiative, once thought to be a full-fledged social network named “Google Me,” is experiencing delays that have pushed back the launch until spring 2011.

Mashable has learned that Google’s big social play could debut in March or April, a far cry from earlier rumors that pegged a 2010 launch date.

The project is a top-secret affair, even within the company. It is being led by Vic Gundotra, one of the company’s public faces and a VP of engineering."

via www.mashable.com

Facebook Pages Getting New Design and Checkins

"Facebook appears to be on the verge of launching a new design of its Fan Pages

This change seems to include the site’s location-based Places checkin functionality, enabling “likers” of the page to check in to it.

Although Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is said to be giving a sneak peak at the new Profile Pages design on 60 Minutes tonight, it seems that more change is in store; you can already see the new Pages design in action on select pages, such as Ellen DeGeneres’s Fan Page. On Ellen’s page, you will notice a count for the number of checkins the Page has. According to Facebook spokesperson Meredith Chin, the Ellen Page is a merged page that includes the functionality for checkins available shortly after the feature launched a few months ago. Basically, your brand page will then take on the Places page designs, which appears to be the inspiration for the new profile pages that are to be released as well."

read more at www.mashable.com