Google Edging into Travel Again

Six months ago, Google launched Google City Tours. A Labs product for Google Maps, City Tours was based around pedestrian sight-seeing, with maps, walking times and sight suggestions.

Now Google is continuing to edge into travel (at least pedestrian travel) with enhancements to City Tours. They’ve added more detailed directions and travel times as well as integrated better with My Maps and tweaked the UI.

Interestingly, some of these were already in place in Google Maps but just recently added to City Tours:

Today, we start providing complete pedestrian routing information for every step of your tour, taking road types, bridges and bodies of water into account just like a regular Google Maps walking directions search. We still try to minimise the time you spend walking and we still won’t recommend a visit to an attraction when we think it’s closed but, now, the suggested tours are a whole lot closer to reality.

As Advertising Evolves Google Talks About Barbie

Advertising is morphing and evolving at a rapid pace. That pace still hasn’t moved the online space too far down its own evolutionary road yet. That is at least according to Nikesh Arora, president of Google’s sales operations. In an interview with the Financial Times he gave some insight into how the online advertising world is shaping up and the role that Google intends to play in it.

Oh, the reference to Barbie? Here is how Mr. Arora sees the current state of online advertising when he compares it to the history of advertising as a whole.

Twitter’s New Year Resolutions: 1 Billion Searches a Day & an IPO?

Reading Biz Stone’s op-ed in the UK’s Sunday Times newspaper almost had me snoozing. Not that Biz is boring–he’s actually quite fascinating–but the article was just a recap of stuff we already knew. Then I saw these closing statements:

..It can be these things but primarily Twitter serves as a real-time information network powered by people around the world discovering what’s happening and sharing the news…In the new year, Twitter will begin supporting a billion search queries a day. We will be delivering several billion tweets per hour to users around the world…

(Emphasis added)

Er, did he just say billion? With a "b"?

Consumer Groups Lobby FTC to Block GoogleMob

Early last month, Google announced it was acquiring AdMob for $750M. The deal is still in the works, of course—in part, at least, because the FTC is taking a first and, as of last week, second look at the deal. As the FTC continues to scrutinize the search giant buying the mobile ad giant, consumer groups are taking their opportunity to have their say—and it’s not in favor of the deal.

The biggest concerns of the Center for Digital Democracy and Consumer Watchdog include decreasing competition in the mobile ad market and consumer privacy. The groups say that together, Google and AdMob would control most of the mobile ad market. AdMob is already the leader in the market, thought there’s lots of competition in that area. However, with backing from the search engine, it’s possible that AdMob could come to dominate their arena just as Google pwns theirs.

Is Personalized Search Killing AdSense Publishers?

Earlier this month, Google announced that its Personalized Search results would come to even computers that weren’t signed in to Google accounts. With the opt-out system in place, many users and public computers can’t help but use personalized search by default—and it may be AdSense publishers paying for it.

The logic goes something like this: if Google is now storing information about what you’re searching for even if you’re not signed in, it may also serve ads based on your search and browsing history, which you’re less likely to click on than ads only relevant to the page’s content. I’m not 100% sure that theory holds true (need more data!), but at least some AdSense publishers are seeing definite drop-off since Google threw the switch.

Google Still A Distant Second To Baidu in China

When the world looks at areas where the pure numbers are pretty staggering it’s the sheer size and potential of the Chinese market. Let’s face it there are a lot of Chinese folks. So it would only be natural that Google would like a piece of that pie. What is not normal though is the fact that Google is second fiddle by a considerable margin to Baidu, which is acting like the Chinese version of Google in its homeland.

CNNMoney.com reports that Baidu is pretty much putting it to Google. As one should expect though it is probably not wise to count Google out on this one.

The 10 Most Popular Marketing Pilgrim Posts of 2009

I trust you had a great Christmas!

As our minds dream of how fantastic 2010 will be, it’s time to look back at the hot topics of 2009. Here are Marketing Pilgrim’s top ten most read posts in 2009.

  1. Bing.com; Is it Worth Switching from Google? – A home run for Microsoft? While Bing certainly deserves credit for being the first serious challenger to Google, it didn’t hurt that 2009 was the year that Microsoft stepped-up its media outreach to us. ;-)
  2. Social Media Monitoring Tools: 26 Free Online Reputation Tools – This post was written in 2007 and has been in our top five for the past 3 years!
  3. Social Media Marketing Beginner’s Guide – A great guest article by Jon Rognerud and it still stands-up as a great primer for social media marketing.