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19 Dec 12 Samsung announces Galaxy Grand: 5-inch Jelly Bean-powered smartphone


Samsung Galaxy Grand

Samsung’s Galaxy Grand: an Android ‘Jelly Bean’-powered 5-inch smartphone with a dual-core processor.


(Credit:

Samsung
)

Samsung today unveiled the Samsung Galaxy Grand smartphone, which runs the
Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean mobile operating system and sports a 5-inch WVGA display.

The smartphone also features a powerful dual-core 1.2GHz processor, along with 1GB of RAM, an 8-megapixel rear camera offering 1080p video recording and a 2-megapixel front camera.

It also includes 8GB of internal memory with a microSD memory expansion slot, Wi-Fi b/g/n, GPS functionality, and the usual perks, such as an accelerometer, compass, and gyroscopic sensor.

The Galaxy Grand also connects to high-speed HSPA+ networks, but falls short of offering 4G LTE connectivity.

The Korean smartphone giant said the smartphone will be sold in two variants: the I9080, which offers single SIM service, while the I9082 will offer dual-SIM functionality, allowing users to use two separate cell numbers from the same device, such as work and personal numbers.

Samsung’s Galaxy Grand comes with a range of features, including the latest Android ‘Jelly Bean’ operating system.


(Credit:

Samsung
)

The smartphone also includes built-in features, such as Direct Call, Popup Video, Smart Alert, and S-Voice, the Samsung’s rival to Apple’s Siri voice-activated assistant.

Announced in the midst of the December holiday season, only days before many businesses finish for the year and consumer holiday spending reaches its peak, the Galaxy Grand is leaping into the public consciousness with no pricing or availability information.

We’ve put in questions to Samsung, but did not hear back at the time of writing. It is expected that the smartphone will be shown off at the consumer showcase
CES 2013 in January.

Update 8:31 a.m. PT: Samsung had little to offer in response to our U.K.-based writer: “Samsung UK availability of the Galaxy Grand is yet to be announced, a statement regarding UK launch confirmation will be made in due course.”

Article source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57559717-94/samsung-announces-galaxy-grand-5-inch-jelly-bean-powered-smartphone/

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17 Dec 12 Android’s Google Now services headed for Chrome, too | Internet & Media …


Google Chrome logo

It looks like Chrome users, not just
Android users, will get access to Google Now, the search giant’s technology for bringing weather reports, trip departure reminders, birthday alerts, nearby restaurant reviews, and more to the attention of Android users.

Google’s Chrome team added a “skeleton for Google Now for Chrome” to the Google browser yesterday, an early step in a larger project to show Google Now notifications in Chrome.

Google Now integration into Chrome gives Google a new way to connect people closely to online services that Google judges to be relevant depending on time and location. Francois Beaufort, who keeps a close eye on the Chrome source code, spotted the move.

Google confirmed that it’s working on the project but stopped short of committing to it. “We’re always experimenting with new features in Chrome, so have nothing to announce at this time,” spokeswoman Jessica Kositz said.

The move reflects the growing maturity of Google’s operating system strategy. In mobile, it steers people to Android, and on personal computers, it steers them to Chrome or Chrome OS. Though Chrome isn’t an operating system, strictly speaking, browsers are absorbing more and more OS abilities, and Chrome OS systems of course can’t run anything but Web apps.

Whatever OS a person is using, Google is designing it as a mechanism to reach Google services: search, Google Maps, YouTube, Google Apps, Gmail, Google+, and more. These services are where Google makes its money.

And Google can show some Google Now-like services sometimes in search results, too. Drawing from Gmail messages, Google shows upcoming flight information and birthday reminders to users who have opted into the system.

Update, 12:58 p.m. PT:
Adds comment from Google.

Article source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57558039-93/androids-google-now-services-headed-for-chrome-too/

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15 May 12 Chrome now syncs tabs to Android


Chrome now offers Other Devices for tab syncing.

(Credit:
Google)

As a warm-up for next month’s Google I/O conference, the company has released an update to Chrome this morning that allows you to sync tabs across PCs and
Android devices.

The option Other Devices is now available in the new Google Chrome 19 stable version for Windows (download), Mac (download), Linux (download).

The option is available at the bottom of your New Tab page, alongside the Recently Closed menu. When it synchronizes a tab, it includes that tab’s browsing history. You’ll be able to navigate forward and back when you open it on a new device. While Google wrote in a blog post announcing the update that the multiple-device tab syncing will be rolled out “over the next few weeks,” I found the feature available available as soon as I updated the browser.

Chrome 19 includes bug and security fixes, as well, including eight security fixes marked high-priority. Google awarded more than $16,500 in the last build cycle for security fixes suggested by the Chrome development community. The Chrome 19 changelog can be read here.

Updated at 9:50 a.m. PT
with additional information about tab syncing.

Article source: http://download.cnet.com/8301-2007_4-57434453-12/chrome-now-syncs-tabs-to-android/?part=rss&subj=software&tag=title

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12 Apr 12 Sony SmartWatch launches, delivers ‘Android power’ to wrist


Sonys SmartWatch works with Android smartphones.

Sony’s SmartWatch works with Android smartphones.

(Credit:
Sony)

Have you ever wanted a watch that can communicate with your
Android phone? Sony sure hopes so.

Sony today launched its SmartWatch, a timepiece for the wrist that allows owners to read text messages, social updates and e-mail, manage calls, and control music. The SmartWatch connects to an Android phone via Bluetooth in order to deliver its functionality and capture what Sony calls “Android power.”

The SmartWatch might be useful for those who don’t want to continuously pull their smartphone out of their pocket, but it certainly won’t win a fashion contest. The device’s strap is rubber and comes in several colors, including white, pink, mint, and blue. However, the black strap comes standard, while the additional colors must be purchased separately. Sitting atop the strap is the watch’s touch-screen OLED display measuring 1.3 inches. To alert users to an event or an incoming call, the timepiece vibrates.

Sony announced the SmartWatch at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. The company said at the time that the watch would work with Android phones from Sony, HTC, Motorola, Samsung, and others. Sony says the handset can run four days on a single charge and is both dust and splash proof.

This isn’t Sony’s first foray into the watch business. Back in 2010, the company launched LiveView, another watch that interacted with Android phones. Although it floundered after launch, the device is still for sale on Amazon for $54.99.

Sony’s SmartWatch is available now for $149.99 on the company’s online marketplace and in its stores. Sony says that it will “soon” announce availability at other retailers.

Keeping time and in touch with the Sony Xperia Watch (photos)

Update 6:34 a.m. PT
to include more details.

Article source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57412973-94/sony-smartwatch-launches-delivers-android-power-to-wrist/

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14 Mar 12 Google to give Chrome a Metro sheen


Never fear, Windows 8 Metro browsers that aren’t Internet Explorer are near. Google says that Chrome will go Metro for the new operating system.

Google Chrome logo

Chrome will come to Windows 8 Metro when Microsoft’s in-development operating system is released to the public, a Google representative has confirmed with CNET.

“Our goal is to be able to offer our users a speedy, simple, secure Chrome experience across all platforms, which includes both the desktop and Metro versions of Windows 8. To that end, we’re in the process of building a Metro version of Chrome along with improving desktop Chrome in Windows 8, such as adding enhanced touch support,” wrote the representative in an e-mail to CNET.

As first reported by Mashable, this indicates so far that Google will be following Microsoft’s lead by developing two interfaces for Windows 8: one for Metro, and one for the desktop view. Beyond that, Google would not confirm any other plans for Chrome in Metro.

However, Mozilla revealed last Friday many of the challenges in developing a third-party browser for Windows 8 that go beyond just two different interfaces. Problems include a “very large” amount of new code, according to Mozilla developer Brian Bondy, but also a limitation imposed by Microsoft that currently prevents third-party browsers from running in Metro mode unless they’re chosen as the default browser.

Opera is also keeping a close eye on Windows 8, although the company wouldn’t confirm whether development on a Metro version of Opera had begun. “Unfortunately, we can’t comment on any specifics yet, other than we are currently looking into Windows 8. The new OS and the Metro UI offers an interesting new platform and we know users will want to run Opera on it,” said Arnstein Teigene, the Opera desktop product manager.

At the time of writing, Apple has not commented on Windows 8 plans for
Safari.

Updated 1:05 p.m. PT: Added a statement from Opera.

Article source: http://download.cnet.com/8301-2007_4-57396484-12/google-to-give-chrome-a-metro-sheen/

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14 Mar 12 Google to give Chrome a Metro sheen


Never fear, Windows 8 Metro browsers that aren’t Internet Explorer are near. Google says that Chrome will go Metro for the new operating system.

Google Chrome logo

Chrome will come to Windows 8 Metro when Microsoft’s in-development operating system is released to the public, a Google representative has confirmed with CNET.

“Our goal is to be able to offer our users a speedy, simple, secure Chrome experience across all platforms, which includes both the desktop and Metro versions of Windows 8. To that end, we’re in the process of building a Metro version of Chrome along with improving desktop Chrome in Windows 8, such as adding enhanced touch support,” wrote the representative in an e-mail to CNET.

As first reported by Mashable, this indicates so far that Google will be following Microsoft’s lead by developing two interfaces for Windows 8: one for Metro, and one for the desktop view. Beyond that, Google would not confirm any other plans for Chrome in Metro.

However, Mozilla revealed last Friday many of the challenges in developing a third-party browser for Windows 8 that go beyond just two different interfaces. Problems include a “very large” amount of new code, according to Mozilla developer Brian Bondy, but also a limitation imposed by Microsoft that currently prevents third-party browsers from running in Metro mode unless they’re chosen as the default browser.

Opera is also keeping a close eye on Windows 8, although the company wouldn’t confirm whether development on a Metro version of Opera had begun. “Unfortunately, we can’t comment on any specifics yet, other than we are currently looking into Windows 8. The new OS and the Metro UI offers an interesting new platform and we know users will want to run Opera on it,” said Arnstein Teigene, the Opera desktop product manager.

At the time of writing, Apple has not commented on Windows 8 plans for
Safari.

Updated 1:05 p.m. PT: Added a statement from Opera.

Article source: http://download.cnet.com/8301-2007_4-57396484-12/google-to-give-chrome-a-metro-sheen/?part=rss&subj=software&tag=title

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17 Jan 12 Awwwk-ward: Google Chrome pay-for-post promo misfires


Google Chrome logo

A Google effort to promote its Chrome browser misfired with the appearance of some blog posts that fly in the face of Google’s own attempts to discourage low-quality Web content.

The campaign, spotted yesterday by Aaron Wall at SEOBook, is apparent in several blog posts from late December bearing the label, “This post is sponsored by Google Chrome.” But there appears to be some backtracking now that the campaign is under scrutiny, and Google itself is disclaiming responsibility while trying to prevent anything similar from happening again.

The theme of the posts is evident in their titles: “Google Chrome Helps Small Businesses Find Success Online,” “Google Chrome Helping Small Business,” “The Power of Google Chrome for Small Businesses.” The posts appear to be a vehicle to promote a Google video about King Arthur Flour; the posts introduce the video with the words, “Google Chrome helped this small business in Vermont go global. What can Google Chrome do for your future?”

Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan, a longtime Google watcher, pointed out that Mariah Humphries’ paid post sported a hyperlink to Google’s Chrome download page. Such links to a particular Web site can help it rise higher in Google search results through Google’s PageRank algorithm, but paying people money to include such links violates Google guidelines. Those guidelines state, “Buying or selling links that pass PageRank is in violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results.” The links are fine if they’re labeled “nofollow,” which means search-engine indexing robots won’t pay attention to them.

But now on Humphries’ blog post, the “Google Chrome” words no longer link anywhere, indicating that perhaps somebody realized the SEO (search engine optimization) bungle. In addition, the video–which Sullivan said had been hosted by Unruly Media–is now missing from that and other posts.

Google disclaimed any responsibility for the posts. “Google never agreed to anything more than online ads. We have consistently avoided paid sponsorships, including paying bloggers to promote our products, because these kind of promotions are not transparent or in the best interests of users. We’re now looking at what changes we need to make to ensure that this never happens again,” the company said in a statement.

In an e-mail to CNET, Unruly confirmed its involvement in the campaign, and shared this comment from Chief Executive Scott Button: “Unruly never requires bloggers to link to back to an advertiser’s site. That’s because we’re in the business of video advertising not search engine marketing, so we couldn’t care less about link juice. We don’t ask for it, we don’t pay for it, and we don’t track it.”

Unruly spokesman Michael Tive added, “As far as we are aware [only] one post contained a link that was not marked as ‘nofollow’…this was an innocent mistake that has since been addressed and fixed.”

In a similar situation in the past, Google punished itself. Google Japan hired a company called CyberBuzz that paid bloggers to post about Google features. After that came to light, Google penalized Google Japan itself in search-engine rankings.

Low-grade content
Even without the hyperlink to the Chrome download page, it’s hard to see how the posts help Chrome’s fortunes much. The browser is steadily increasing in popularity. But if you were thinking about changing browsers, would these Chrome-sponsored words convince you?

The Internet now offers a myriad ways by which we could save money. Just google the words “saving money” and you’ll see so many resources that will help you save and even help you in your small business and earn money. Internet businesses are currently growing because the Internet allows them to cater to customers around the world. And all these for a minimal cost because they don’t need to think to much about operating expenses because of all the free resources available for them on the Internet.

Or how about this?

Words can’t begin to capture how much time and money the web has helped me save. As a busy marketing professional, I spend an inordinate amount of time online. The Web has helped enabled me to connect with people while offering and performing services that would never have been possible. Small businesses seeking to go to the next level know how important it is to be online…

Small businesses can further cultivate offline relationships online by demonstrating their expertise by creating and sharing content that is relevant to your audience. In addition, you have the ability to host giveaways, Twitter parties, etc. Regardless of your business size, the Web opens up a whole world of endless opportunities.

Sure, the Web is important. But what does this have to do with Chrome?

Of the sponsored posts I found, Tree Root and Twig was one of the few that came close to saying anything about the browser itself: “With apps and extensions for a number of business needs, and the powerful Google search engine to lead potential customers to your commercial site, Google Chrome can help today’s small businesses enter the world of new and social media.” Moomette’s Magnificento plugged Chrome as “much more reliable.”

Overall, the blog posts seem to me (and Sullivan) to be the sort of low-grade content that Google tried to cull from search results with its Panda algorithm change earlier this year.

Google described Panda as “designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites–sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other Web sites, or sites that are just not very useful.”

Unruly has this perspective on the content: “We also believe that it’s really important that bloggers, if they write any content in response to a campaign, write it by themselves, in their own tone of voice, and preferably that they write about the video content, not the brand or the product being promoted, so the nature and style of posts will vary considerably from blogger to blogger.”

Part of the difficulty seems to be that the King Arthur Flour video is mostly about Google search, not Chrome. The bloggers didn’t have much to work with, so it’s no surprise that headlines overreached and prose was strained.

I’m all for mommy blogging and other self-publishing ventures. But concerning Google’s goals, I’d be surprised if this pay-for-post campaign convinced anybody to use its browser.

Updated at 1:13 p.m. PT
with comment from Google.

Update at 3:45 p.m. PT : SearchEngineLand is reporting that searches for “browser” have been pushed way down in its PageRank. In a statement sent to SearchEngineLand, Google reportedly said: “We’ve investigated and are taking manual action to demote www.google.com/chrome and lower the site’s PageRank for a period of at least 60 days. We strive to enforce Google’s webmaster guidelines consistently in order to provide better search results for users.” Google did not immediately respond to CNET’s request for confirmation of the statement.

Article source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-57351145-264/awwwk-ward-google-chrome-pay-for-post-promo-misfires/?part=rss&subj=latest-news&tag=title

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14 Jan 12 Google uncloaks Chrome’s top security goals


Chrome’s privacy controls.

(Credit:
Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET)

Google’s Chrome security team unveiled yesterday its guiding principles on how they build a safer browser.

The manifesto declares seven key guidelines for Chrome security. The first one, “Don’t get in the way,” both echoes Google’s unofficial motto, “Don’t be evil,” and reflects what many Windows security vendors have learned the hard way about keeping people safe. If security negatively affects performance, users will look to alternatives. For a browser which has built its user base on speed, sluggish response times have the potential to wreak great havoc.

“It’s great to see invisibility and automatic background updates as the first principal. Good security is transparent and inescapable,” said Chris Wysopal, chief technology officer at Veracode. “The less security decisions that involve the user the better. Every security decision made by the user is a chance that something with be postponed or forgotten or worse, an opportunity for social engineering.”

Privacy is not mentioned in the list of principles, and that may raise the hackles of some security experts. “I think Google’s approach to privacy is a little bit different than others,” said Jeremiah Grossman, WhiteHat Security’s chief technology officer. “They make the assumption that you trust them, but if you don’t trust them then you have to separate the two. You can’t protect your data that’s on Google, from Google, because it’s contrary to their business model.”

(Credit:
Google)

Google does have a site dedicated to explaining privacy in Chrome, and it does have a company-wide privacy policy that applies to Chrome. However, there isn’t a company policy statement on Chrome privacy like the new security manifesto.

A Google representative told me that the Chrome security team works in close conjunction with Google’s overall security team, as well as the Chrome team itself. “We protect users by embedding security deeply into our culture, as well as our process for designing and developing products. This relentless focus on security often benefits the web more broadly as well, either through our own action or through others who adopt similar approaches,” the representative said.

The need for speed has found its way into Chrome security, and the representative pointed to regular release note updates as evidence of this. “We’ve demonstrated that we will shine a light on security topics that are relevant to our users, even when most companies wouldn’t,” he said, with tough benchmarks set for response time and how long systems are left unpatched.

Of course, Google is hardly the only company to take this approach. Mozilla also regularly publishes security update release notes, and Microsoft has become so regular at publishing security updates to Internet Explorer and its other software that Patch Tuesday has become lingua franca in the computer security world.

Microsoft recently touted a decade of security achievements, and it’s practically universally accepted that the company learned some tough lessons in the past 10 years.

Not surprisingly, Microsoft’s current policies of a company-wide approach to security echo Google’s similar stance with Chrome. Chrome’s third core principle states that security is a “team responsibility,” which was explained to me as meaning that browser security concerns go beyond the realm of just the Chrome security team to include Google’s general security group and the general Chrome group. While this may sound obvious to some, cross-department communication has had an impact on the browser’s development, said the Google representative.

“Engaging the security community makes Google part of the security community. More technology companies should take this approach. They have set up a cooperative and non-adversarial posture. Microsoft pioneered this approach, but Google has taken it a step further with their bug bounties,” said Wysopal.

Google has said that the quality of the bug reports has helped it fix vulnerabilities much faster. The company has paid out more than $200,000 for Chrome and Chromium-related security bugs found by bug hunters. The open-source progenitor of Chrome, Chromium was around for a year before Google debuted Chrome.

While likely familiar to many who keep tabs on browser security, the principles document stands as a place where Google can point to its achievements in the field as well as its goals. Some of the Chrome features referenced in the document include the mention of anti-exploit technologies such as JIT hardening along with Google-sourced innovations like the Safe Browsing API. The “Make the Web safer for everyone” section notes numerous public security standards like public key pinning, SPDY, and Native Client.

Grossman concluded that despite some concerns about Chrome, that the project has been a boon for the Web. “I think they’re doing a lot more right than wrong when it comes to browser speed and security,” he said.

Correction 4:41 p.m. PT: This story originally misstated the amount of money rewarded to bug hunters working on Chrome and Chromium. The correct sum is more than $200,000.
Update 4:45 p.m. PT: The story has been updated with a link to Google’s company-wide privacy policy, which it says also applies to Chrome.

Article source: http://download.cnet.com/8301-2007_4-57359066-12/google-uncloaks-chromes-top-security-goals/

Tags: , , ,

14 Jan 12 Google uncloaks Chrome's top security goals


Chrome’s privacy controls.

(Credit:
Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET)

Google’s Chrome security team unveiled yesterday its guiding principles on how they build a safer browser.

The manifesto declares seven key guidelines for Chrome security. The first one, “Don’t get in the way,” both echoes Google’s unofficial motto, “Don’t be evil,” and reflects what many Windows security vendors have learned the hard way about keeping people safe. If security negatively affects performance, users will look to alternatives. For a browser which has built its user base on speed, sluggish response times have the potential to wreak great havoc.

“It’s great to see invisibility and automatic background updates as the first principal. Good security is transparent and inescapable,” said Chris Wysopal, chief technology officer at Veracode. “The less security decisions that involve the user the better. Every security decision made by the user is a chance that something with be postponed or forgotten or worse, an opportunity for social engineering.”

Privacy is not mentioned in the list of principles, and that may raise the hackles of some security experts. “I think Google’s approach to privacy is a little bit different than others,” said Jeremiah Grossman, WhiteHat Security’s chief technology officer. “They make the assumption that you trust them, but if you don’t trust them then you have to separate the two. You can’t protect your data that’s on Google, from Google, because it’s contrary to their business model.”

(Credit:
Google)

Google does have a site dedicated to explaining privacy in Chrome, and it does have a company-wide privacy policy that applies to Chrome. However, there isn’t a company policy statement on Chrome privacy like the new security manifesto.

A Google representative told me that the Chrome security team works in close conjunction with Google’s overall security team, as well as the Chrome team itself. “We protect users by embedding security deeply into our culture, as well as our process for designing and developing products. This relentless focus on security often benefits the web more broadly as well, either through our own action or through others who adopt similar approaches,” the representative said.

The need for speed has found its way into Chrome security, and the representative pointed to regular release note updates as evidence of this. “We’ve demonstrated that we will shine a light on security topics that are relevant to our users, even when most companies wouldn’t,” he said, with tough benchmarks set for response time and how long systems are left unpatched.

Of course, Google is hardly the only company to take this approach. Mozilla also regularly publishes security update release notes, and Microsoft has become so regular at publishing security updates to Internet Explorer and its other software that Patch Tuesday has become lingua franca in the computer security world.

Microsoft recently touted a decade of security achievements, and it’s practically universally accepted that the company learned some tough lessons in the past 10 years.

Not surprisingly, Microsoft’s current policies of a company-wide approach to security echo Google’s similar stance with Chrome. Chrome’s third core principle states that security is a “team responsibility,” which was explained to me as meaning that browser security concerns go beyond the realm of just the Chrome security team to include Google’s general security group and the general Chrome group. While this may sound obvious to some, cross-department communication has had an impact on the browser’s development, said the Google representative.

“Engaging the security community makes Google part of the security community. More technology companies should take this approach. They have set up a cooperative and non-adversarial posture. Microsoft pioneered this approach, but Google has taken it a step further with their bug bounties,” said Wysopal.

Google has said that the quality of the bug reports has helped it fix vulnerabilities much faster. The company has paid out more than $200,000 for Chrome and Chromium-related security bugs found by bug hunters. The open-source progenitor of Chrome, Chromium was around for a year before Google debuted Chrome.

While likely familiar to many who keep tabs on browser security, the principles document stands as a place where Google can point to its achievements in the field as well as its goals. Some of the Chrome features referenced in the document include the mention of anti-exploit technologies such as JIT hardening along with Google-sourced innovations like the Safe Browsing API. The “Make the Web safer for everyone” section notes numerous public security standards like public key pinning, SPDY, and Native Client.

Grossman concluded that despite some concerns about Chrome, that the project has been a boon for the Web. “I think they’re doing a lot more right than wrong when it comes to browser speed and security,” he said.

Correction 4:41 p.m. PT: This story originally misstated the amount of money rewarded to bug hunters working on Chrome and Chromium. The correct sum is more than $200,000.
Update 4:45 p.m. PT: The story has been updated with a link to Google’s company-wide privacy policy, which it says also applies to Chrome.

Article source: http://download.cnet.com/8301-2007_4-57359066-12/google-uncloaks-chromes-top-security-goals/?part=rss&subj=software&tag=title

Tags: , , ,

10 Jan 12 Google Chrome pay-for-post promotion misfires


Google Chrome logo

A Google effort to promote its Chrome browser misfired with the appearance of some blog posts that fly in the face of Google’s own attempts to discourage low-quality Web content.

The campaign, spotted yesterday by Aaron Wall at SEOBook, is apparent in several blog posts from late December bearing the label, “This post is sponsored by Google Chrome.” But there appears to be some backtracking now that the campaign is under scrutiny, and Google itself is disclaiming responsibility while trying to prevent anything similar from happening again.

The theme of the posts is evident in their titles: “Google Chrome Helps Small Businesses Find Success Online,” “Google Chrome Helping Small Business,” “The Power of Google Chrome for Small Businesses.” The posts appear to be a vehicle to promote a Google video about King Arthur Flour; the posts introduce the video with the words, “Google Chrome helped this small business in Vermont go global. What can Google Chrome do for your future?”

Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan, a longtime Google watcher, pointed out that Mariah Humphries’ paid post sported a hyperlink to Google’s Chrome download page. Such links to a particular Web site can help it rise higher in Google search results through Google’s PageRank algorithm, but paying people money to include such links violates Google guidelines. Those guidelines state, “Buying or selling links that pass PageRank is in violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results.” The links are fine if they’re labeled “nofollow,” which means search-engine indexing robots won’t pay attention to them.

But now on Humphries’ blog post, the “Google Chrome” words no longer link anywhere, indicating that perhaps somebody realized the SEO (search engine optimization) bungle. In addition, the video–which Sullivan said had been hosted by Unruly Media–is now missing from that and other posts.

Google disclaimed any responsibility for the posts. “Google never agreed to anything more than online ads. We have consistently avoided paid sponsorships, including paying bloggers to promote our products, because these kind of promotions are not transparent or in the best interests of users. We’re now looking at what changes we need to make to ensure that this never happens again,” the company said in a statement.

In an e-mail to CNET, Unruly confirmed its involvement in the campaign, and shared this comment from Chief Executive Scott Button: “Unruly never requires bloggers to link to back to an advertiser’s site. That’s because we’re in the business of video advertising not search engine marketing, so we couldn’t care less about link juice. We don’t ask for it, we don’t pay for it, and we don’t track it.”

Unruly spokesman Michael Tive added, “As far as we are aware [only] one post contained a link that was not marked as ‘nofollow’…this was an innocent mistake that has since been addressed and fixed.”

In a similar situation in the past, Google punished itself. Google Japan hired a company called CyberBuzz that paid bloggers to post about Google features. After that came to light, Google penalized Google Japan itself in search-engine rankings.

Low-grade content
Even without the hyperlink to the Chrome download page, it’s hard to see how the posts help Chrome’s fortunes much. The browser is steadily increasing in popularity. But if you were thinking about changing browsers, would these Chrome-sponsored words convince you?

The Internet now offers a myriad ways by which we could save money. Just google the words “saving money” and you’ll see so many resources that will help you save and even help you in your small business and earn money. Internet businesses are currently growing because the Internet allows them to cater to customers around the world. And all these for a minimal cost because they don’t need to think to much about operating expenses because of all the free resources available for them on the Internet.

Or how about this?

Words can’t begin to capture how much time and money the web has helped me save. As a busy marketing professional, I spend an inordinate amount of time online. The Web has helped enabled me to connect with people while offering and performing services that would never have been possible. Small businesses seeking to go to the next level know how important it is to be online…

Small businesses can further cultivate offline relationships online by demonstrating their expertise by creating and sharing content that is relevant to your audience. In addition, you have the ability to host giveaways, Twitter parties, etc. Regardless of your business size, the Web opens up a whole world of endless opportunities.

Sure, the Web is important. But what does this have to do with Chrome?

Of the sponsored posts I found, Tree Root and Twig was one of the few that came close to saying anything about the browser itself: “With apps and extensions for a number of business needs, and the powerful Google search engine to lead potential customers to your commercial site, Google Chrome can help today’s small businesses enter the world of new and social media.” Moomette’s Magnificento plugged Chrome as “much more reliable.”

Overall, the blog posts seem to me (and Sullivan) to be the sort of low-grade content that Google tried to cull from search results with its Panda algorithm change earlier this year.

Google described Panda as “designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites–sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other Web sites, or sites that are just not very useful.”

Unruly has this perspective on the content: “We also believe that it’s really important that bloggers, if they write any content in response to a campaign, write it by themselves, in their own tone of voice, and preferably that they write about the video content, not the brand or the product being promoted, so the nature and style of posts will vary considerably from blogger to blogger.”

Part of the difficulty seems to be that the King Arthur Flour video is mostly about Google search, not Chrome. The bloggers didn’t have much to work with, so it’s no surprise that headlines overreached and prose was strained.

I’m all for mommy blogging and other self-publishing ventures. But concerning Google’s goals, I’d be surprised if this pay-for-post campaign convinced anybody to use its browser.

Updated at 1:13 p.m. PT
with comment from Google.

Update at 3:45 p.m. PT : SearchEngineLand is reporting that searches for “browser” have been pushed way down in its PageRank. In a statement sent to SearchEngineLand, Google reportedly said: “We’ve investigated and are taking manual action to demote www.google.com/chrome and lower the site’s PageRank for a period of at least 60 days. We strive to enforce Google’s webmaster guidelines consistently in order to provide better search results for users.” Google did not immediately respond to CNET’s request for confirmation of the statement.

Article source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-57351145-264/google-chrome-pay-for-post-promotion-misfires/?part=rss&subj=latest-news&tag=title

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