Consumer Watchdog Files FTC Complaint Over “Send To Anyone On Google+” Feature

consumerwatchdog Consumer Watchdog, the non-profit group that might more accurately be called "Google Watchdog," has filed a complaint with the FTC over Google's recent rollout of a feature that lets Gmail users contact Google+ users without knowing the recipient's email address. Google launched the "Send to Anyone on Google+" feature earlier this month, which lets anyone with a Gmail and Google+ account send messages to anyone else with Gmail and Google+ accounts. Google made the feature opt-out, meaning users that didn't want to potentially get messages from strangers via Gmail/Google+ had to turn it off [...]

FAQ: How The New Gmail “Send To Anyone On Google+” Feature Works

gmail-featured Google has announced that soon, anyone with both a Gmail account and a Google+ account will be able to message anyone else with a Gmail account and Google+ account, even if they don't know their email address. Spam city! Potentially, but Google has some safeguards built in that it hopes will keep this as a useful feature rather than a nightmare. It's complicated, so here's our FAQ on how it all works, based on conversations with Google. What's the new feature? Very soon, people using Gmail will be able to send Gmail messages to people with Google+ accounts, even if they don't know the actual [...]

Sentenced For Circling: Google+ Invite Puts Man Behind Bars

Google+-Jail A Salem man who had a restraining order against him may have circled himself direct to jail, thanks to a Google+ invitation. According to The Salem News, the accused man, Thomas Gagnon, had an active restraining order against him that prohibited him from contacting his ex-girlfriend. The Google+ invite was printed out by the ex, taken to court and an arrest warrant was issued. Here's where the story turns, however. According to the report, Gagnon's lawyer, Neil Hourihan, insists that an invite wasn't sent and that the complaint was "absolutely unfounded." This is very plausible as we know [...]

Google’s Share Of Social Logins Hits Highest Level In Q4 Since 2010

Janrain-Social-Login-Preferences-Q4-2013 Google continues to be an increasingly popular choice when it comes to social logins, and Q4 of 2013 was its best single quarter since 2010, according to the latest report from Janrain. Google hit 35 percent of all social logins in the quarter, its highest level since being at 38 percent in Q4 of 2010. Facebook remains the most popular option with 45 percent of all social logins last quarter. Janrain credits Google's push to merge many of its properties into Google+: With the continued emergence of Google+, and the company’s push to unify each of its services (Gmail, Google+, YouT [...]

Marketing Land’s Most-Shared Stories on Google+ in 2013: Google+, Google Reader and Google Glass

ml-2013-year-review Happy New Year Marketing Land fans! We kick off 2014 with our last look back at 2013, the most-shared Marketing Land stories on Google+. What was the hottest topic our readers "+1'd" this past year?  Just as our Facebook fans prefer to share stories about Facebook, our readers on Google+ like news and stories about Google, especially Google+. It was an important year for the platform, becoming the second largest social network in the world early in 2013. Here they are - the top 20 shared Marketing Land stories on Google+. 1. Study: Google+ Will Overtake Facebook’s Social Shar [...]

Google Tests Social Ads, Turns Google+ Posts Into Display Ads To Show Across The Web

google +post ads Today, Google introduced a type of promoted post in Google+ that allows brands to turn their social content into ads that are distributed on the Google Display Network. Toyota USA, Cadbury UK and RITZ crackers are among the test partners participating in the closed beta. Brands can take content posted on Google+ and turn photos, videos and even Hangouts into display ads. Rather than have the ads served only within the Google+ context -- as with social ads on other networks such as Facebook and Twitter -- advertisers can distribute their social content across the web through Google's Display [...]

Google Automatically Creates New Orkut Accounts For Any Logged-in Google User That Visits

google-orkut-logos If you have a Google account -- and who among us doesn't? -- you might want to be careful about visiting Google's other social network, Orkut. Google is automatically creating new Orkut accounts for anyone that visits while already logged in to a Google account. (Try it yourself if you don't mind having an Orkut account setup for you.) If you also have a Google+ account, Google will take the data from it (your name and avatar) to auto-populate your new Orkut account. Frank Strong noticed this a couple days ago; we reached out to Google for comment, but the company hasn't replie [...]

Google Updates YouTube Comments To Address Spam Issues, But Stays Silent On Google+ Integration Backlash

youtube-logo-200 Yesterday on the YouTube Creator Blog, Google announced updates to "Combat the increase in spammy comments" on YouTube. According to the blog post, Google has updated its system to include, "Better recognition of bad links and impersonation attempts, improved ASCII art detection, and changed how long comments are displayed." The updates are in response to what the company claimed were "new opportunities for abuse" since the new system was rolled out two weeks ago. Google refrained from making any mention about the backlash it has received concerning Google+ integration into YouTube com [...]

Google Places For Business Rolls Out Review Inbox, Listing Customer Ratings & Reviews All In One Place

google-plus-local According to today's post on the Google and Your Business blog, Google Places for Business is rolling out a new Review feature. Now, businesses with a verified listing can see their customer ratings and reviews all in one place with the new Review Inbox that has been added to the Places for Business dashboard. Google says not only will all of a business's customer reviews and ratings be listed in the inbox, but businesses can respond directly to reviews, as well as encourage customers to leave a review on a Google+ page. From the Google Places for Business blog post: If you feel your b [...]

Location Sharing Along With Photo & Video Backups Arrive On The Google+ iOS App

Google+ This weekend, Google updated the Google+ iOS app that allows for full resolution backups of all photos and videos as well as a "Latitude-esque" location sharing feature. While the update 4.6.0 is for iOS, the full res backups are for iOS7 only (which does require adequate cloud storage space). The location sharing feature allows users to view where exactly their friends are currently located. A user profile and location will pop up on the map once this feature is enabled: Users must allow for location sharing and can set at the user or circle level and is a feature that is not a defa [...]

Blurred (Time)lines: Google+ Cover Photos Now Frosted & Full Size

New-Header By now we know that Google is no stranger to testing new cover photos sizes for Google+. Today a new version has arrived with the goal of displaying the full image (not just a preview) while displaying user/page info at the same time. Googler Karthik Nagaraj announced the update on Google+ and also explained that the image that has the blurred effect is actually the cover photo that is simply re-purposed next to the main image. The final product makes for a very unique & modern look that also highlights profile/page info much better than the previous options. Thanks to the ne [...]

Backlash Over Google+ Integration Into YouTube Comments Continues To Grow

youtube-generation-featured After Google launched a new platform for YouTube comments "powered" by Google+ in September, a YouTube Product Forum has been bombarded with backlash from users wanting Google+ out of their YouTube comment threads. Scrolling through the last few days' worth of topics listed in the YouTube Product Forum shows most are complaints about the integration of Google+ into YouTube. More than 900 topics were added in the last 24 hours, possibly prompted by a Reddit post published yesterday, pointing readers directly to the product forum link. According to an announcement by Google in September, c [...]

Google Quietly Intros New Google+ Share & +1 Buttons

new-gplus-share-button Look right above this sentence. Have you noticed the new Google +1 button? If not, you're probably not alone. Unlike Facebook's new "Like" button announcement earlier this week, Google hasn't said much yet about its new buttons. Google employee Paul Lindner posted about them in the Developing with Google+ community on Google+. He says that the +1 and Share buttons are now consistent with the Follow and Badge widgets. The change is mainly coloring: The +1 and Share buttons used to be a light gray, while the new ones are white. If you're using the +1 and/or Share buttons on your [...]

Keep Out: Restricted Google+ Communities Help Keep Conversations Private

Restricted-Google+-Communities Like the functionality of Google+ communities, but don't want to expose your content shared to the world? Well now Google's got a solution for you: Restricted Google+ communities. Companies will now have the ability to create invite only communities or restricted communities that are open to those with email addresses specific to a domain name. This is an ideal solution for internal teams or specific projects as users can share files directly from Google Drive. Community owners can manage membership, change settings or invite others. The default setting for restricted communities will d [...]

Social Media Checklist For New Websites & Businesses

social media As a startup company or small business, it is no longer an option to ignore social media as a means of communication, promotion and possibly even recruitment or revenue. That's true for any business new to the internet, as well. However, diving head-first into an ever-expanding realm of social media networks can feel overwhelming at best. Each platform has not only a unique audience of users, but also its own idiosyncrasies when it comes to usernames, imagery and usage. Below is a step-by-step guide to establishing business accounts on the top eight social networks. As time and personnel [...]

Google+ Invades The Android 4.4 “KitKat” Phone App: What It Means For Businesses & People

google-kitkat-nexus5-featured Practically no one has a phone with Google's latest Android 4.4 operating system on it yet. But the system, nicknamed KitKat, will shortly be spreading beyond the Nexus 5 launched last week. When it does, people with Android 4.4 will discover that their phone's dialer has become integrated with Google+. That'll have a big impact on how business and people are found, plus how things appear when calls come in. A primer on the change. What's The Phone App & The Dialer? The "phone" part of "smartphone" is about making voice calls. Remember those? The Phone app is how you make those calls i [...]

Google Helpouts: Answers Meets Knol Meets Hangouts

google-helpouts-featured With Google's new live-video Helpouts we might ask: will the third time be the charm? The first time Google tried to operate an expert network was Google Answers, which eventually got killed by free services such as Yahoo Answers. The second time was Google Knol, an author network that was supposed to develop into a higher quality version of something like Wikipedia. It was shuttered in May 2012. Interestingly, that project was championed by Udi Manber, who seems to be one of the leads behind Helpouts. Helpouts rides on top of the Google+ Hangouts infrastructure. It's real-time video cha [...]

Google: “In Stream” Activity On Google+ Doesn’t Only Happen On Google+ Itself

google-plus-logo-tilt Google reported this week that Google+ now has 300 million monthly "in stream" users -- a number that places it well ahead of the 215 million monthly active users that Twitter recently listed in its pre-IPO S-1 document. But, as is often the case with usage numbers (and not just those related to Google+), the definition of an "in stream" user isn't as obvious as it may seem. Ex-WSJ writer Amir Efrati wrote this week that, according to former Google employees, Google counts clicks on the Google+ notifications icon (currently a bell, formerly a red button) as being "in stream" on Google+. [...]

The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart Has The Scoop On Google’s Mystery Barge: It’s A Trap!

What's in that giant mystery barge that's owned by Google in San Francisco Bay. There's speculation it might be a floating data center or a shop for Google Glass. But the Daily Show's Jon Stewart finds it's an opportunity to poke fun at Google+, as well as Google's ambitious plans to bring wifi to the world and cure death. More ominously, floating barges mean Google has us surrounded by land, sea and air. Here's the full video, if you want to watch it first without the spoilers below: Stewart starts off with a recap that no one knows what this Google project is about, sort of like G [...]

Google’s Giving Out More Vanity URLs; Terms They Might Cost In Future Remain

google-plus-red-128 Fourteen months after the initial appearance of Google+ vanity URLs have been launched to a wider audience, but according to the terms of use they may just cost you in the future. If you or your brand is eligible for a custom URL, you'll receive a  email allowing you to claim the URL. The subject will read either "Get a custom URL for your Google+ profile" or "Get a custom URL for your Google+ page" and will look like the following: If the custom URL is approved, you can then confirm on the next page with a pre-checked Terms of Service box: Once completed, you'll have successfully clai [...]

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