Twitter Gives TinyURL the Big Boot

Twitter’s “World Dominance 140 Characters At a Time” Tour continues as it tries to help users squeeze more into twitter-logotheir messages. This time, however, there is casualty. TinyURL was the default URL shortening service for Twitter until recently when bit.ly was deemed the service of choice to shorten the URL’s of millions (that sounds painful, doesn’t it?) as reported by TechCrunch.

TinyURL has been with Twitter since its inception but the bit.ly service has a few advantages over it and some even benefit the users. bit.ly makes URL’s shorter than TinyURL which in the limited space that 140 characters is can be advantageous. Just think of the tragedy if one of your followers couldn’t get the additional exclamation point you had to share so you could really get your emotion across to them. Oh, the humanity!

Google REALLY Wants You To Like Them

Google has been getting a lot attention as of late. Unfortunately for themspinning-top a lot of it has to do with the government and the variety of sundry concerns around that like monopolies, anti-trust, lobbying and general political activity. So what’s a corporate giant to do when the news gets a little ‘uncomfortable’? Why spin, of course! So get ready, Pilgrims, put your blindfolds on as we spin you around and see if you can play today’s game of “Pin the Tail on the Truth!”.

cnet is reporting that Google watchers are busy.

Consumer Watchdog on Friday plans to tout a Google presentation titled “Google, Competition, and Openness” that the advocacy group uncovered. The company presentation gives Google’s views that it faces plenty of competition in a dynamic market.

What Google’s Brin Said That Will Ruffle Wolfram Alpha’s Feathers

ZDNet’s Larry Digman suspects Google’s Sergey Brin is looking over his shoulder at the start-up Wolfram Alpha.

Picking through Brin’s annual “Founders’ Letter” Digman found this interesting little aside:

I think it will soon be possible to have a search engine that “understands” more of the queries and documents than we do today. Others claim to have accomplished this, and Google’s systems have more smarts behind the curtains than may be apparent from the outside, but the field as a whole is still shy of where I would have expected it to be.

I tend to agree that this is a reference to Wolfram Alpha, but I don’t think it suggests Google is concerned about the start-up’s claims. On the contrary, it appears this one statement sends a number of strong messages:

Favicons Coming to a Yahoo Search Ad Near You!

When Yahoo’s not busy fending off the amorous advances of Microsoft, it’s quietly testing new search engine features.

Over at the Yahoo Search Marketing Blog, the company has revealed the limited testing of favicons in its search ads. They look something like this:

Don’t go rushing to YSM to activate your own favicon. Yahoo is appears to be running the test with just a small set of well known brands–which likely isn’t your company.

What do you think of the favicons?

Microsoft to Become “More Disruptive in Search”

Someone is finally stepping up to the plate. I’ve been longing for Yahoo to care enough to challenge the Google empire, but it looks like Microsoft’s CEO is the one with the stones to do it. Steve Ballmer, in his speech at Stanford, says that Microsoft is going to have to become “more disruptive in search” in order to attempt to catch up to Google.

Ballmer realizes how big of an underdog Microsoft really is to Google. Microsoft doesn’t have the economies of scale or the money that Google that has helped keep them where they are in search.

“We’re not just a No. 2 or 3 player,” Ballmer said. “The No. 1 player is a lot bigger than us.”

Rupert Murdoch: NM on That Free News Thing

225px-rupert_murdoch_-_wef_davos_2007Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corp., Fox, the Wall Street Journal, etc., etc., etc., made a rather surprising about-face this week on the issue of paid access to online news content. Rumors began a year and a half ago that they were leaving the paid model, and were partially confirmed in January 2008, when Murdoch said they would “greatly expand and improve the free part of the Wall Street Journal online, but there will still be a strong offering (for subscribers).”

It seemed inevitable that Murdoch’s properties would “devolve” to the standard ad-supported free content model that reigns on the Internet. But now Murdoch says that’s just not the case. Apparently this walled-off paid content program is going so well, they’re not only keeping it, but possibly expanding it, according to the Guardian:

Why KFC’s Oprah Debacle Could End-up Finger Lickin’ Good!

There aren’t many examples where you see the adage “all publicity is good publicity” actually hold true, but I suspect that the KFC/Oprah coupon debacle could end up being one.

For those of you not familiar with the incident, let me bring you up to speed.

KFC’s sales are suffering, so the company is hoping its new line of Kentucky Grilled Chicken can help lift its bottom line. To help spread the word, it joined forces with the promotional juggernaut called Oprah, who announced on her show downloadable coupons–good for a free 2-piece meal.

The only problem is that KFC didn’t anticipate–which blows my mind–that a free giveaway from Oprah would send tens of thousands of people to the fast food chain’s stores. Reports soon came in that stores were refusing to honor the coupons–for a whole host of reasons.