Tag Archives: blogging

The Paris Hilton School of Blogging

So there I was, wide awake in my bed, wondering if the Crestor was keeping me from catching some much needed Zzzzs, when I decided to scramble over to my HP Media Center PC and check what was new on Digg. Over on my number two display, a trusty old 17″ BenQ FP731, my RSS aggregator, KlipFolio, diligently scrolled the latest Digg news. One headline caught my eye:

“How Paris Hilton Can Help Your Web Development (seriously)”

I clicked and waited mere milliseconds for Digg to pop-up on my primary monitor, an awesome Gateway HD FPD2185W. I read the comments on Digg and quickly had Firefox whisking me away to chartreuse’s Beta blog. As the post came up, I decided a late-nite snack was necessary to accompany this mix of marketing savvy and Paris Hilton photos.

Three slices of buttered Holsum whole wheat, crisply toasted in my DeLonghi oven, and a glass of milk would suffice for tonight.

The article is brilliant and shows how Hilton has exploited the attention economy to advance her own career. According to chartreuse, Paris is the queen of links, gratuitously dropping brands, locations and names whenever possible.

Though she hired a publicist to get her on Page 6, she never really talked about herself. She talked about other people. She would mention the designers of her clothes, the club she was going to, who made the sweater for her dog, all without any guarantee of any return. She just threw out links.

It’s gotten to the point where people are using the tactic of rejecting Paris as a marketing tool.

What the article doesn’t go into is how to apply this to your blog (as originally promised in the misleading Digg title). I’m not sure that dropping names on your blog will guarantee you rich marketing campaigns, but everyone knows that cross-linking helps boost where you appear in Google search results. So the best way to do a Paris Hilton on your blog is probably to link to other blogs of interest to your readers or articles and hopefully get some links back in return.

If you pay attention to other bloggers (and your content/banter/mojo is smart), they’ll eventually pay attention to you. Smart comments on popular blogs will also boost your “attentioness” on the Internet. But as usual, the best way is to provide smart, useful content for your readers. Unless you’re Google or Digg or YouTube or Paris and are simply a platform for the sale and promotion of attention.

This article comes to you thanks to WordPress blogs, Dreamhost hosting (use promo code 29OFF for $29 off any hosting plan), the Microsoft Windows XP operating system (at least until I get an Apple MacBook Pro), Sysinternals utilities and the wonderfully elusive CreateShortcut util by Jeff Key.

Google’s Flickr Killer – Part 2

This is a follow up to my post: Google’s Flickr Killer.

As I’ve already mentioned, a photo organizing and editing tool that runs on your computer (and not over the web) -such as Picasa- is an integral part of the equation. If I could upload straight from Picasa into Flickr, I would use my Flickr account ten times more than I do now. Since I’m using a beta version of Picasa Web Albums, I can upload directly into Google’s own web-based photo storing and sharing service. But, convenient as it is, it’s still no Flickr (or smugmug or photobucket).

These are some of the features which, in my opinion, will permit Google to turn Picasa Web Albums into the next, best Flickr:

  1. More storage space. How about unlimited? The current 250MB is laughable, and the only upgrade option is to 6GB.
  2. Direct linking to images, at several sizes. This would allow users to link to their images from their websites, blogs or forum posts.
  3. Tags. It should be easier to tag photos within Picasa and these tags should replicate in Picasa Web Albums. Tags make organizing photos easy and fun, and make it much easier to find similar information from other users.
  4. Geotags. Come on, Google..! Google Maps/Earth + Picasa + AdSense = Why isn’t this happening quicker?
  5. A powerful API. An API would allow users and companies to offer third-party services, add-ons and tools beyond Google’s imagination or capabilities. Map tools, printing services, backup services, blog galleries, mosaics, games, t-shirts/purses/mugs, avatars… you name it, someone will come up with it.
  6. Add-supported, revenue-shared. Google could use the AdSense network to advertise on user’s galleries and photos based on the tags used (or use an image-analysis algorithm to extract relevant information from each photo). Beyond a certain number of hits, Google would share the advertising revenue with the photo’s owner (via Google Checkout, of course).
  7. Comments and notes. Visitors should be able to comment on each photo, ala Flickr.
  8. RSS feeds. RSS-everything: tags, users, comments…
  9. Better GMail and Blogger integration. (Currently I can only post four images at a time to Blogger and can’t BCC: on my emails). Ideally, Picasa would allow posting to any blog (WordPress, for instance) the way Flickr does. Publish-by-email would be nice as well (send your photos to a predefined secret email, and have them appear on your photogallery and blog).
  10. And of course… Google Search for all my images.

The funny thing is, Google has already implemented these ideas in one or many of its services. So, what is taking them so long to tie them together into a killer photo storage and sharing web service?

Do you have more suggestions for Google? Post them in the comments to this article.

And Google, I’m available for hire… in case you want to boost Picasa Web Albums into hyperdrive.

Contact me through this form:

[CONTACT-FORM]

Google’s Flickr Killer

… or why Yahoo needs to buy a desktop photo managing app, pronto.

I’ve been using Flickr for a while now – I even have a Pro account (I previously used smugmug). I also use Picasa to manage my photos (having tried several versions of Adobe’s Photoshop Album). I like Picasa’s simplicity, instant image fix-ups, and Gmail integration (for major alterations, I use Photoshop CS2). However, getting images into my Flickr account is a major operation. I can use Flickr’s Upload Tool to store my images on Flickr, but I usually like to crop, color-correct or otherwise fix my photos before showing them. So after fixing them in Picasa, I must export them to a new folder, which I must then upload to Flickr.

Ideally, Picasa would upload to Flickr, making tagging, editing and arranging files a breeze. I doubt Google will do that, though (Picasa doesn’t even upload to third-party blogs, limiting itself to Google’s own Blogger service).

Google has been recently testing an online photo storage and album service: Picasa Web Albums. While it’s still no Flickr, its integration with Picasa is a killer feature and Yahoo/Flickr should take notice. I expect it will eventually integrate with Google Maps/Earth for geotagging, and Checkout for selling your photos, among other Google services. Once Picasa Web is out of beta there really shouldn’t be any reason for Picasa users to keep using Flickr. We all know how long Google’s betas last, so there’s still time for Yahoo to catch-up, but the ball is certainly flying out of the stadium.

Comment in you have any suggestions on which software Yahoo should buy.

Google Media

Google Media
How Google will change the way you experience music, television and media in general.

Google, Google, everywhere

It seems you can find Google just about anywhere these days. Internet search? Check. Satellite mapping? Check. Photos? Check. Online shopping? Check and check. Advertising? Check. Web analytics? Check. Finance? Check. Video? Check. Music and television? Err, not yet, but the battle plans have been drawn.

Google has been quietly getting ready to bring the power of its brand and technology to the way you experience music, television and media in general. A simple search through Google’s job boards will display several openings for programmers, technicians and project managers for their video-on-demand, set-top box and media integration projects.

From the web to your television

Google has the equipment and expertise necessary to set up a massive media distribution and tracking network, integrated into their existing search and advertising technologies.

With the release of Google Finance, Google has unveiled a simple, information-rich interface that readily lends itself to other areas, such as music and television. Imagine having all of your favorite show’s news, postings, ratings, reviews and episode guides at your fingertips. Create your very own programming guide, including not only your favorite shows, movies and music but also, why not, your favorite ads. Quickly vote on your favorite shows, buy merchandise and share your opinion with other viewers. It’s all possible in Google’s universe.

I’ve made a simple mock-up of what Google’s TV dashboard could look like (click on the image to open the full-sized, commented drawing on Flickr):

Google TV (clip 150KB)

This dashboard would give the user access to the whole Google Media experience. News about the current show (via Google News), recording (via Google PVR – someday), user comments (via Google Groups), slideshows (via Picasa), scheduling (via Google Calendar), etc. Everything about your favorite shows at your fingertips.

Google is also making inroads into the set-top box business, hoping to bring television straight into your television (whether it’s in your living room or your mobile phone). With the right connections into your home, Google could use their massive disk arrays to create a huge, universal digital video recorder, giving you access to every show on television (or at least to those shows the local networks allow you to watch). There would be no need to be home in time for a show or to remember to schedule your video recorder… they’d all be online, waiting for the correct password or payment to send it your way.

Bringing it all together

There are still some areas where Google lacks the experience to properly pull this off, but they seem to be hard at work at filling most of these voids.

Searching within video and music files (allowing you to search for particular dialogue, images or sounds within audio and video files) and online transactions (allowing you to pay or get paid for buying or experiencing content) are some of the areas Google has been actively working on (though some argue that search within compressed media files is not possible). Others, such as ratings analysis (necessary for tracking a show’s popularity and establishing value) should readily evolve from Google’s vast experience with search result placement and web analytics.

If successful, Google will offer the viewer an integral, enjoyable and information-rich media experience. Hey, they may even get you to watch the commercials. Not bad for a newcomer.

UPDATE: This article was updated on September 28, 2006 to include the Google Dashboard graphics, which hadn’t been uploaded to the server when the original article was published.