Gmail is Down! (With the Latest Themes, That Is)

Gmail had a rough week with its downtime. We talked about that already and here at Marketing Pilgrim, at least, have decided to forgive them – just this once! Maybe as a make good to all of you still steamed about the failure of Google to be perfect you can take comfort in the new themes that have been released for Gmail!

As we ease into a much needed three-day weekend (speaking strictly for myself here but I suspect others can relate) let’s take a look at the pretty new scenes you can look at if your Gmail happens to be working. Just go to settings in your Gmail account to use these and other themes and if you get bored easily set it to Random and Google will make more decisions for you! Thanks to Mashable for the heads up!

Google’s Schmidt Gives Search Insight

Chip in brainOver at TechCrunch Michael Arrington has been doling out portions of his interview with Google’s Grand High Pubah (that’s code for CEO) Eric Schmidt. It’s interesting to see what one of the more influential people in the space (and in business overall) sees for the future of the industry / service. There is even some evidence that the folks at Google get some chuckles internally discussing mind control and connecting directly into brains for the real “intent of search”. Man, they sure know how to ’yuck it up’ out in Mountain View, don’t they?!

On a more serious note Schmidt talks about where search is now and what the next 10 years may hold

Kai-Fu Lee Leaves Google; Soft Snickering Heard in Redmond

The man that gave Google one of its biggest legal headaches, is leaving the company.

According to the WSJ, Kai-Fu Lee, president of Google’s China operations is leaving Google to work on his own start-up. You may remember that Lee, was smack in the middle of a legal battle between Microsoft and Google over allegations that he breached his employment contract, when he took on the job of helping Google with its efforts in China.

The two companies settled in 2005, and since then Lee helped Google build its Chinese search share to 20%–measly compared to Baidu’s 76% dominance–but still a big improvement for the company.

Of course, Google’s moving quickly to ensure Lee’s departure is not too much of a setback. Lee shoes will be filled by two people–those must have been big boots!–and Google will double the size of its sales force in China.

20% of Online Advertising is on Social Networks

social-media-collageWe reported one stat from a new comScore report yesterday—that Facebook served 8.2% of all online ads—but the full report is even more impressive.

More than one in five of all online ads are served on social networks. MySpace still leads the pack with 9.2% of all online ads, and Facebook is a close second with 8.2%. The 3.7% of online ads served on social networks is split among such sites as Tagged.com, MocoSpace.com, Hi5.com, Bebo, Classmates.com and other smaller sites, most with 0.1% or less of the total online ad market:

Top Online Display Ad Publishers in Social Networking Category
June 2009
Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations
Source: comScore Ad Metrix
Total Display Ad Impressions (MM) Share of Display Ads Ad Exposed Unique Visitors (000)

Will YouTube be the Next Netflix?

As impossible as it sounds, Netflix, the popular rental-by-mail-and-instant-download service, may be facing some stiff competition in the future—from YouTube. The Wall Street Journal reports that major studios are discussing YouTube rentals.

Yep, you read that right: YouTube movie rentals. If this comes true, this will be the biggest test to see if users of the most popular video site in the world will pay for premium content—possibly paving the way for more sites to add that income stream.

YouTube has been making deals with professional content providers for a long time—including Disney, MGM, and Lions Gate in the last year.

Google Patents Simple Search

One of the secrets to Google’s massive success is not the immense size of its search index, but the sparse design of it’s homepage. A design that is now officially patented!

From now on, if you launch a search engine, it had better not use a homepage design that contains the bolded elements below:

It might have taken Google 5 years to get the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to issue the patent, but issued it is. Of course, even Google doesn’t sit on a winning homepage design. In the five years it’s taken the USPTO to grant the trademark, the search giant has tweaked the design some.

Twitter Hires More Exec Firepower

Twitter Bird GoofyTwitter is really trying to become the company that everyone has it pegged to be, or at least it seems that way by their hiring tactics as of late. While the media daily predicts the emergence / unfettered growth / imminent doom of the micro-blogging service daily (are you sick of it yet?) Twitter goes about its merry way showing signs of brilliance (rapid growth) and signs of “WTF?!” (outages).

The latest attempt to move to the next level, according to TechCrunch, is the hiring of Feedburner co-founder and CEO Dick Costolo as the new COO of Twitter. Costolo left Google in July after spending enough time with Feedburner’s new owners to watch them drop the ball. What makes this hire significant (aside from Costolo being an early investor in Twitter) according to TC’s Michael Arrington is