June 30, 2015

Quote of the Month: Sergey Brin

A photograph of the Googleplex campus.
The Googleplex.  Original image from Wikipedia. 

By Megan G. 

“The kind of environment that we developed Google in, the reason that we were able to develop a search engine, is the web was so open.  Once you get too many rules, that will stifle innovation.” – Sergey Brin

Sergey Brin is one of the two original founders of Google.  The other is Larry Page, whose words were featured in Tek Shouts! Quote of the Month in May. 

In this month’s quote, Sergey highlights one of the magical things about our favorite tech giant—its open work environment that is absolutely riddled with employee benefits.  More than 2 million people apply each year to Google for a chance to become a happy, little cog in the internet company.

What exactly makes their campus such an exciting place?  

June 29, 2015

Railroads Cross to a Safer Future Thanks to Google Maps

By Nick K. 

It’s the week of the 4th of July and you’ve planned a road trip with friends to visit a favorite mountain, desert, or ocean destination to watch the fireworks. The car has a full tank of gas, the seatbelts are fastened, and the smartphones have finished uploading social media updates about the journey ahead. Google Maps is also only a click away in case you are lost. Just like that, away you go with your buddies off into the morning sunrise!

Time passes by as you encounter areas of construction and make it to the seemingly endless open road. Suddenly, traffic begins to slow and eventually comes to a halt. You look down the road and see a cloud of smoke, flashing lights, and you hear the sounds of echoing sirens. Once the smoke clears, you see what appears to be a railroad crossing with a train blocking the road and a pile of rubble and ash that used to be a car. After several hours of waiting for the scene to be cleaned up, you continue forth on your journey with a renewed vigilance for railroad crossings.

June 26, 2015

Increase in Mobile Search Affects Local Search Optimization Strategies

A couple walks through a mall, hands filled with shopping bags, searching for their next destination on their smartphone.

By Joseph A.

Anyone active in the digital marketing world surely knows about Mary Meeker’s annual “Internet Trends Report,” even if you don’t have much time to look through it. The 2015 edition consists of around 200 data-filled slides that cover marketing and consumer behavior trends ranging from the increasing importance of millennials to new advertising strategies in China. While it may not sound like the most fascinating read, it’s certainly worth a look for anyone interested in the marketing field.

While 2015 Internet Trends is not primarily focused on local search, Meeker’s report does make some eye-opening observations about it.

Let’s Go Mobile

According to Meeker, there were 80 million mobile phone users around the world in 1995, which represented about 1% of the world’s population. Nowadays there are 5.2  billion mobile phone users, which is a staggering 73% of the population! In the eyes of Google, mobile searches have officially surpassed  desktop searches.

June 25, 2015

eGumball, Inc. Launches New and Improved Website

The text, "We are excited to announce the launch of the new eGumball website" floats above a computer screen with the brand new eGumball, Inc. homepage.

June 25, 2015: Irvine, CA. After months of hard work, the developers and designers here at eGumball, Inc. have launched the new and improved company website. It sports an aesthetically pleasing-new look, and offers a more user-friendly interface. Come check out it out today!

About eGumball: eGumball, Inc. is a Google Maps marketing company based in Irvine, CA. Incorporated in 2007, eGumball assists local businesses by increasing their online presence on Google Search and Google Maps.

June 24, 2015

Picking Up the Pieces Two Months After Google’s Mobilegeddon Update

Did Google's mobile-friendly algorithm make the impact we all thought it would, or was it more bark than bite?

By Justin H.

This post-apocalyptic internet wasteland has left us all searching for answers. We have to rebuild, but how? Google’s mobile update hit the universal reset button! How can we live on and survive after mobilegeddon?

Too dramatic? Maybe a bit.

On April 21st, Google frightened businesses, websites and SEO experts everywhere by rolling out its mobile update. It was designed to discriminate against sites that were not mobile-friendly. We have touched on this topic on more than one occasion here at Tek Shouts!, and now it is time to assess the damage. Were we all just freaking out over nothing?

June 23, 2015

Tek this out! Beat Email Miscommunication with Gmail

By Nick K.

How often have you composed an email and become enveloped in such anticipation for a response that you immediately click the send button before you had a chance to proofread it?

This happens more times than you would think. There have been quite a few times when I wish I could unsend an email that I sent out. For example, I tried to contact an outside news source employee who shared the same name as my office manager. Unfortunately, I ended up sending it to the office manager instead of my intended recipient. Talk about an interesting next couple of minutes.

Now that the email has been sent, how are you supposed to stop it and make the appropriate corrections? It is such a shame to witness that picture perfect email and your chance at online communication success come crashing down.

Email platforms far and wide, there has to be a solution. Please hear these pleas from the people!

June 22, 2015

Google AdWords Amps Up Local Business Tech

From Marketing Land, there is a cartoon picture of a small business with technology surrounding it.
Original image from Marketing Land

By Megan G. 

What does it mean to own your own company in 2015?  There’s definitely a lot less paper-based marketing tactics, such as newspaper ads and Yellow Pages listings, than small business owners have used in the past.  For the small business and marketer of today, it’s all about digital: local search, advertising technology, and other online marketing tools spell out success in our time.

Knowing this, you’d think more SMBs would have jumped on the digital bandwagon.

June 19, 2015

Google Search Optimization: 4 Foolproof Ways to Make More Money, Fast

By Lauren C.

You know how great your business is. Problem is, you can’t seem to find anyone else who agrees with you. Though you’ve been in business for several years, and you have a loyal base of customers, expanding in the future seems unlikely. Maybe there’s a big box store opening around the corner, or the rent just increased a notch. Regardless, the cards seem to be stacked against you.

Furthermore, you think you’ve tried everything. You sent out flyers to people in the community. You’ve made cold phone calls to potential clients. You’ve even hired one of those nifty SEO companies that helped improve your online ranking, but that isn’t yet converting to higher sales numbers.

So does this mean you’re doomed?  Of course not. There may be several reasons your business is struggling to succeed, and none of them have anything to do with your product or services. Search Engine Watch argues that there are four easy steps you can take now to improve your conversion rates, and start expanding your business once again.

June 18, 2015

Tek This Out: Father’s Day Edition!

A cartoon light bulb with the eGumball, Inc. logo in the middle.

This Sunday, June 21, is Father’s Day! 

Instead of buying dad another boring tie or coffee mug this year, why not impress him with this bevy of fun facts? He will be overwhelmed with joy when he sees you finally did your homework!

But seriously, you should still buy him a gift. Esquire has 10 ridiculous new gadgets that would knock his socks (and hopefully the hideous tie you got him last year) right off! Buy him a droid, for Pete’s sake.

June 17, 2015

With DuckDuckGo Gaining Traction, Should Google Worry?

Photo from Optilocal

By Nick K.

Google Search has mostly been the dominate force in the search engine world. Most of the reigning champion’s search engine competition, such as Bing and Yahoo Search, have been anything but threatening to Google. However, there is a search engine called DuckDuckGo that has slipped under the radar for most Internet users and yet could potentially be a threat to the Search Engine King.  

In recent days, DuckDuckGo has announced their incredible growth in website traffic, over 600% in the past couple of years, according to BGR. Ultimately, DuckDuckGo might not be the next Google, but they are definitely validating their place in the search engine world.

What Makes DuckDuckGo Special?

DuckDuckGo was started back in 2008 as a search engine that depends on external sources like Yelp and Wikipedia to provide recommended pages and page results, according to Search Engine Land. This means that this particular search engine does not rely on website crawlers to find information like other search engines do.

June 16, 2015

Innovator of the Month: Sundar Pichai

Sundar Pichai.  Original image from Android Headlines.

By Megan G.

Who is Sundar Pichai?

Sundar Pichai joined Google, Inc. in 2004 and is currently their Senior Vice President of Products.  This is no small title, as the SVP oversees a multitude of Google computing platforms and cloud applications, including (but not limited to) Google Search, Maps, Ads, Apps, Android, and Chrome.

Sundar is also one of the most featured Google employees of this past year.  He has popped up in news stories, done interviews with various publications, and spoken at high profile tech events.  He even had the honor of presenting the Keynote of Google I/O 2015 last month.

June 15, 2015

Google Maps Can Even Find UFOs

By Justin H.

Ah, good ol’ Google Maps. Gotta love it. Maps works wonders when you need to figure out how to get to the local market, movie theater, or wherever else. It’s the best when it comes to turn-by-turn navigation. There’s also no better app to use when you have to track down the nearest UFOs!

Wait, what?

Naysayers beware: Google Maps does in fact find UFOs, and it happens much more regularly than you’d imagine. As recently as this Monday, June 15, 2015 there was an alleged unidentified flying object sighting up in Antarctica. No more than two days prior, there was another sighting elsewhere, which you will see below. Of course, not everyone believes in UFOs, but Google Maps finds them so frequently that they can’t be ignored!

Don’t go boarding up the windows and stocking up on canned soup just yet, but here is a brief timeline of UFO sightings on Maps. Maybe we can predict the extraterrestrials’ patterns before the invasion…

June 12, 2015

Google-Backed Slack is a Tech Darling Ready to see the World

Logo and tagline.  Image from Slack.com.

By Megan G.

Have you heard of a hot little startup called Slack?  You know, that instant messaging application that Google Ventures backed with about $120 million last year?  If your answer is a charmingly daft, “Huh?,” I don’t blame you.  Slack is a unicorn that has remained relatively hidden in the enchanted forest of the exclusive tech world. 
In business lingo, a unicorn refers to a startup that is highly valued by its investors.  Since Slack’s current valuation is around $2.8 billion, this company definitely qualifies as an entrepreneurial rarity—but it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows for this legendary creature. 

Slack as a product has only reached about 1.5% of the population, a number that comes directly from their chief marketing officer, Bill Macaitis.  Ugly, right?  On the bright side, this integrated communications company is steadily growing its user base and revenue with its apparently wonderful chat application.

June 11, 2015

Learn a Foreign Language Using Google-Backed App Duolingo

The Duolingo company logo over a blue sky background.  The tagline reads, "Learn a language for free. Forever."
Photo Courtesy of Android-Apps.com

Have you always wanted to learn a foreign language, without paying for those expensive language learning programs? Thanks to a new investment by Google Partners and other bigwig donors, now you can! These contributors have made it possible for users to learn a foreign language right from their mobile phone.

This mobile-friendly, versatile app is called Duolingo, which teaches users how to speak and understand foreign languages through a series of interactive games. Duolingo cofounder and CEO states that their company is “focused on offering the best possible education to the maximum number of people in the world. We are working to optimize the rate at which people acquire information, making the experience as entertaining as possible to help students persist.”

June 10, 2015

Worldwide Developers Conference: Juicy Updates for Map Enthusiasts

A smartphone and tablet with displays of search engine results and a digital mapping platform.
Photo Courtesy of Techlicious.com
By Lauren C.

The Google vs. Apple battle is heating up. The ongoing, passive aggressive war between these two giants has been analyzed many times by the Tek team, but every week there seems to be a new, juicy update that adds to the drama.

At the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on June 8th, Apple introduced some brand new developments as part of their iOS 9 Apple Maps upgrade. Some of these include:

1. Changes to local search. Apple improved local search capabilities by offering more personalized content and search results. For example, users can now search for nearby businesses by categories or names. Apple executive Craig Federighi stated that the new updates would “enhance how you use your device but without compromising your privacy.” Some see this as a direct swipe at Google, who has been known to walk a fine line with consumer privacy.

June 9, 2015

Tek This Out: Would you Travel Using Mythical Creatures?

Are you living in Great Britain and looking for a new way to spruce up your daily commute? Would you much rather be admiring the endless green hilltops? Then perhaps there is a solution after all, thanks to Google Maps.

In case you missed it Google Maps added a couple of new commuting options, dragon and Loch Ness Monster, for people to utilize when traveling to certain locations.

June 8, 2015

Inactive Google My Business Accounts Could Lead to Unverified Listings

Photo from Sprout Social

By Nick K.

When was the last time you have viewed your Google My Business account? If it’s been quite some time, then perhaps it might be worth revisiting again. There is a strong chance that Google will unverify your business listing if it shows no recent activity.

Recently, Search Engine Land, Small BizTrends, and Integrated Digital Marketing have reported that Google will reach out to Google My Business account owners to ensure their business pages are active and accurate. If the account owner does not respond to Google’s contact attempts, then those owners run the risk of their listing becoming unverified. ‘Unverified’ essentially means ‘untrusted,’ which spells a major loss in credibility and customers for that listing.

June 5, 2015

3 Google Apps That Your Business Can’t Live Without

Photo courtesy of auvitech.com.

By Justin H.

A good business owner will use all tools that could be an asset to his or her business. Of course, if you are an avid reader of Tek Shouts!, you know all about the benefits of Google Maps and Google My Business! But what other services are there to help generate sales and boost productivity?

You’ve likely heard of them before, but few people actually utilize these products to their full capabilities. Here are three Google apps for small business owners that you’re probably missing out on. 

Google Calendar

How helpful could a calendar really be?

While far from being the most elaborate or aesthetically-liberating app, Google Calendar serves a vital purpose. Time management and procrastination are two issues so many people struggle with, and Google has done a great job creating a tool to mitigate that.

June 4, 2015

Customer Question: Why Am I Not On The First Page of Google?

By Justin H.

In this installment of our Customer Question of the Month series, we tackle another common inquiry that often leaves many customers puzzled.

The question is: “Why am I not on the first page of Google when I am the best in my industry?”

Many factors go into this. There is no cut and dry answer to this question, especially with the constant changing of Google’s algorithms and ranking methods. Regardless of what changes in Google Search, understand that it is all done for your benefit! Every algorithm update aims to reward honesty and trust scores, so people who run businesses the right way will always rank high.

Less than 10% of search traffic makes it to the second page of Google, so getting on the first page is paramount. Here are some reasons why you might not be popular with Google despite being so successful in your industry.

June 3, 2015

Google Maps Breaks Borders with Offline Availability

By Megan G.

At Google I/O 2015, we learned that full Google Maps functionality will be available offline by the end of this year.  Distant cries can be heard from traveling businesspeople and avid vacationers, “Yes!  No more crippling data charges while I’m milling about abroad!”  But this update isn’t just about serving those privileged enough to take trips across the globe. 

In developing countries, mobile data connections are often hard-to-find, unreliable, and grossly expensive.  The internet company’s move towards offline availability signifies a huge technological leap forward for these areas.  Google’s goal of bringing valuable information easily and freely to everyone—and they mean everyone—can actually be achieved with this update.

June 2, 2015

Top 5 Best Ice Cream Shops to Visit for Rocky Road in the U.S.

Grab a scoop or two for National Rocky Road Day.  Original image from the Ann Roth blog.

By Megan G.

Happy June 2nd, everybody!  Today is National Rocky Road Day.  For those who have never experienced this delightful dessert, Rocky Road is a mixture of almonds, marshmallows, and milk chocolate ice cream.  Mmm, I can feel the sugar coma coming on already.  Let’s get ready for summer in the best way by indulging in this classic American treat! 

With a little help from Google Maps, Tek Shouts! has compiled a list of the best ice cream shops, parlors, and restaurants in the United States—and they all serve a scoop (or three) of Rocky Road.  While there are many fine ice cream establishments on Google Maps, these 5 really stand out in different ways.  

Without further ado, let’s celebrate June 2nd!

June 1, 2015

Google and Apple: Don’t Bite the Ad Revenue That Feeds You

The Google logo scraped into a red apple.
Courtesy of Today'siPhone.com
By Lauren C.

For years, Google and Apple have maintained a mysterious relationship. In the past, the Tek Team has analyzed the powerful love-hate connection that exists between these two, and why this give- and- take partnership benefits both corporations.

Despite their very public spats and courtroom battles, there’s a recent analysis that explains why Google desperately needs to maintain a cordial friendship with Apple. According to the New York Times, a whopping 75% of Google’s revenue comes from iPhones and iPads. This infers that in the 11.8 billion in ad revenue that Google collected during 2014, over 8 billion came from Apple devices alone.

So Does Apple Even Need Google?

It makes perfect sense why Google needs to be buddy-buddy with Apple. Things could be very dicey if Apple decided to bounce Google out of its default spot on Safari. Though Google is the number one search engine, it wouldn’t be above Apple to play such a devious trick.