Linky Goodness for August 15

Today’s Pilgrim’s Picks are actually a Linky Goodness, because we all miss Jordan–and it’s been far too long since we had some LG.

  • AOL has acquired Socialthing, an aggregator of social media feeds. I’m guessing it couldn’t afford the more popular FriendFeed.
  • Speaking of defamation lawsuits, a journalist tried to sue Google for $50 million because he didn’t like the comments written by a local college professor. Why did he sue Google? No one knows–which explains why it was kicked out court.
  • Interesting observation at the end of a recent post by Lenovo’s David Churbuck. Are Beijing Olympics guests in high-end hotels bypassing China’s strict web filtering? It appears Google believes his hotel is actually in Hong Kong. Strange.

New Google AdSense for Feeds; a Pain in the Rear End

If you’ve been waiting for the much talked about Google AdSense for Feeds, I have good news and bad news. Which do you want first?

OK, the good news. If you log into your Google AdSense account, you’ll see a new option to create AdSense for Feeds. Yay!

You can customize whether to display text only ads, image only, or a mix of both. You can decide how often to display the ad; every blog post, every 2nd blog post, etc. And, you can even decide on the colors and placement of the ads. Our dreams have come true!

Now, for the bad news.

Unless you are creating a brand new Feedburner feed, you won’t have an easy time setting up AdSense for Feeds. As Google explains:

Google Defamation Suit in India Demonstrates Divide Over Freedom of Speech

Generally, the US is one of the most litigious countries in the world–like you needed me to tell you that. However, when it comes to defamation, it’s often a tough argument to win simply because the constitution promises citizens the freedom of speech–you won’t win, simply because you don’t like someone’s published opinion of you.

So, it’s interesting to see that Google has been sued by an Indian construction company, trying to get the identity of an anonymous blogger. The defamation lawsuit claims the blogger–known only as "Toxic Writer"–has attacked the company with his "hate campaign."

The blog has since been taken down and, at this point, we would normally see the likes of the EFF come to the defense of the blogger’s freedom of speech. Not so, outside of the United States. As John Watson, associate professor at American University specializing in communication law, tells Wired.com:

Personal Life Media Launches Free, Brandable Podcast Widget

We’ve all heard how widgets are going to be a growth area for advertisers, but you’ve probably said to yourself “that’s all very fine and dandy, but I don’t have any content to actually put in a widget!’

Fret no more, dear forward-thinking advertiser because Personal Life Media has just launched a new customizable widget-creator. With it, you create the branded widget, and Personal Life Media will fill it with great audio content. Personal Life Media is headed by social media legend Susan Bratton who tells us, “So many of our sponsors and prospective advertisers requested a way to showcase our content on their site that we created this widget for them.”

So, just how easy is it to create your own branded widget? Just three steps:

Google CEO Tells Jim Cramer “I never worry about Microsoft”

Just days after we suggested that Google should perhaps hire financial guru Jim Cramer, who should turn up on Cramer’s Mad Money show? None other than the Google CEO Eric Schmidt!

No talk of a job offer for Cramer, but Schmidt did answer a bunch of questions. The VentureBeat guys have a great summary and transcript from the CNBC segment. Here are a few of my favorite Schmidt statements.

  • “We will make more money from mobile advertising,” Schmidt said when asked about the possibility of mobile computing taking off. The thought is that advertising on mobile platforms will be much more highly targeted than it currently is on the desktop.
  • On the recent Gmail outage: “That was a screw up. We fixed that. We’re not perfect,” Schmidt said.

Twitter Scraps SMS Updates; Should it Have Offered a Paid Alternative?

I wasn’t going to give Twitter’s "we’re stopping SMS text messages in most countries" announcement much real estate today, then a single comment gave me pause for thought.

First, the background:

Beginning today, Twitter is no longer delivering outbound SMS over our UK number. If you have been receiving SMS updates from Twitter via +44 762 480 1423, you’ll notice that they’ve stopped and you may want to explore some of the alternatives we’re suggesting…

…Even with a limit of 250 messages received per week, it could cost Twitter about $1,000 per user, per year to send SMS outside of Canada, India, or the US. It makes more sense for us to establish fair billing arrangements with mobile operators than it does to pass these high fees on to our users.

Pick Your Knows With Google Reader

It appears Google does listen, it just takes them a few months to respond. Almost 9 months after it introduced feed sharing features to Google Reader, the team have announced new features to allow you to control said features.

First, you can now select which friends see your shared items:

Another needed feature, when someone shares their items with you, you’ll get an alert and the option to subscribe to their shared items. You’ll also be able to decide whether you share your items with that person in return.

Next time you log into Google Reader, take a look at the new features. Then head back here and let me know what you think, or what’s still needed.