Serving as a real-time feed into the national zeitgeist, Twitter has become an invaluable tool for marketers to gauge -- as even mimic -- consumer sentiment. Samsung, for example, incorporated consumer comments on Twitter into its latest TV ad, which mocks Apple's new iPhone, and, according to The Wall Street Journal, “is striking a chord with consumers.” According to Samsung, specific lines were based on "hundreds of thousands" of Tweets complaining or poking fun of the iPhone 5.
Supporting earlier speculation, Yahoo is indeed returning to its roots as a technology company under the leadership of CEO Marissa Mayer. “Long torn between whether it should focus on media content or on tools and technologies, Yahoo under Mayer is being positioned firmly in the latter camp,” reports Reuters, citing sources. Similarly, “Her hires, acquisition musings, and other early moves hint at an ambitious, technology-driven comeback.”
Despite a weak earnings report and a sick CEO, it wasn’t all bad news for Google, this week. Giving the search giant something to smile about, it reported adding 25 million new building footprints to Google Maps. How is Google expanding its mapping program so rapidly? By using aerial imagery and computer vision techniques to determine the shapes and heights of these buildings, it explains. “The same aerial photography Google uses to render these footprints is, of course, also the basis of Google’s 3D maps,” TechCrunch notes.
CNN.com this week debuted a Trends section that lets readers browse hot topics and related stories according to what’s most popular on the greater Web. Making the service possible is Zite, the personalized tablet news aggregator CNN acquired in mid-2011. “It’s CNN’s first use of Zite technology since the acquisition,” Mashable reports. “Found at CNN.com/Trends, the section is a frequently updated countdown of the most popular stories on the web.”
Yahoo on Friday announced plans to cease business operations on South Korean. For Reuters, the news underscores the company’s “struggle against Google and local competitors expanding aggressively into mobile advertising and online services” in the region. “An industry pioneer and household Internet brand [in South Korea], it has been overshadowed by global rivals including Facebook Inc and Google in recent years.” Launched in 1997, Yahoo Korea is wholly owned by Yahoo.
If you haven’t already, Pheed is brand name you can expect to hear mentioned with increasing frequency. “In short, think of it as Twitter, with a business plan,” writes Forbes. “Somehow, the startup got over 200 taste-makers and celebs to sign up for the site—and quickly!” Notable users include Miley Cyrus, Ashley Tisdale, David Guetta, and Chris Brown. As for its business plan, Pheed lets users -- or “Pheeders” -- charge for access to their content feeds, and then takes a share of the generated revenue.
The Wall Street Journal sits down with Bill Maris, head of Google Ventures, to find out where the search giant is looking for the next big thing. And it’s not where you think. “I'm interested in the ideas that sound a little crazy, such as radical life extension, curing cancer, being able to create a simulation of the human brain and map every neuron,” Maris explains. To date, the VC unit has channeled more than $300 million into more than 130 companies.
Twitter recently gave itself the power to block accounts and tweets on a country-by-county basis. Now, working with German officials, Twitter has banned a neo-Nazi organization, which is not allowed under German law. “As part of the disbanding, the ministry also ordered that its social media account be seized,” Marketing Land reports. Said social media account can still be viewed by U.S. users, however. “This is part of the wink-wink system of ‘censorship’ that’s long been operated by Google. The search engine, similar to Google, may ‘ban’ pages from appearing in certain countries.”
Year-over-year, Google saw a 42% increase in paid clicks during the second quarter of 2012. The bad news? Small businesses -- which were responsible for AdWords’ rise to fame -- are now getting priced out of the game. “Heightened competition has driven up the prices for keywords and made it harder for small companies,” The New York Times reports. Who or what’s to blame? Big budget advertisers like Amazon, which spent $54 million in the first half of the year.
Google has launched a new “disavow links” tool that lets Webmasters eliminate links to their site, which they believe might be hurting its search rankings. However, Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Web spam team, warned that the tool should be used with caution, as Search Engine Land reports. “He also warned that publishers should first try to remove links they are concerned about pointing at them by first working with site owners hosting links or with companies they may have purchased links through.”