It’s that time again where we take a look back at the previous few weeks to see what’s going on in search and social media. While the social media news has calmed down a bit after the recent launch of Google+, there’s still a lot going on from new travel search tools to features and brand names being retired by Google.
Here are some interesting tid bits from the last month in search and social media news. We have a lot of news coming out of Google lately, so let’s start there:
1. Google+ Reaches 25 Million Users
Google+, the new social network making waves last month with its limited launch, has already attracted more than 25 million users. That’s faster than other popular social media sites — including Facebook and Twitter — reached that target. To be fair though, Facebook did originally target a more limited audience and Twitter was a new kind of tool to most users rather than another social network. Still, the growth is impressive. Are you on Google+ yet? Meet up with us there! [Source: Search Engine Land]
2. Google Drops Services, Brands
With its Google+ push, the company is streamlining services and brands. Google Labs is gone. [Source: ReadWriteWeb] Others, like Blogger and Picasa, will get a branding makeover. Picasa will become Google Photos and Blogger will become Google Blogs. [Source: Mashable] What do you think of them streamlining services under the “Google” branding? Do you think it makes sense as they tie things together under Plus? Or will you miss the a la carte style of more segmented services?
3. Google Releases Hotel Finder for US Cities
Travel-related search is the subject of two updates this month, the first coming from Google. They’ve released an experimental hotel finder tool in the US. The map shows popular tourist destinations. You choose the attractions you actually plan to visit. And the tool offers you a list of hotels that are appropriately-located. [Source: Search Engine Journal]
4. Bing Attractions Improved
Bing also released some travel-related search news recently. They’ve overhauled Bing Attractions. When you search for attractions for a specific location, the tool provides a quick list of some of the hottest spots. And now they’ve introduced better filtering options so you only find the attractions you’re actually interested in. For example, you can filter by kid-friendly attractions or find beaches near your travel destination. [Soruce: T3.com]
5. Spotify Brings Social Music to the US
Spotify.com — a service that allows music streaming, playlists, and the ability to easily share music with friends — has come to the US. The service offers Facebook integration to help with the social sharing side. Currently free access is invite-only, but you can get immediate access with a premium account. [Source: Spotify.com]
6. Twitter Expands Advertising
Twitter recently announced changes to their advertising program. You’ve seen sponsored tweets for a while now, but the company now plans to integrate those sponsored tweets into your Twitter feed. On the positive side, you should only see the ads if you follow that brand, and you can close an ad as you find it (at least for now). My question is why brands would want to pay for ads only to reach the people they already reach (their followers). What will you do if you see these ads from brands you follow? Will you simply unfollow them so their “tweets” don’t appear above all of your real conversations? [Source: Fast Company]
7. Visual.ly Lets You Share or Make Your Own Infographics
People love infographics, and they seem to do particularly well in social media (we love to share pretty things?). For some smaller companies and individuals the cost of hiring designers to create them was a roadblock. Now a new service, Visual.ly, will let users create their own infographics. Not so fast though. Despite the announcement, the infographics creation feature (Labs) still isn’t publicly available. You’ll need to sign up for updates on the open launch. In the meantime you can “Twitterize yourself” or compare yourself to another Twitter user or browse a collection of infographics for inspiration. Upload your own for feedback too! I’ll be keeping an eye on this one, especially their Labs. [Source: TechCrunch]
What other search and social media news caught your attention in recent weeks? Share your own favorite stories in the comments below.