Google and Virgin America Improve In-Flight Maps

Google has a real buddy in the airline industry with Virgin America. During last year’s holiday travel season Google offered free WiFi on all Virgin America flights. Now, Google and Virgin have expanded the in-flight maps offered to travelers as they can now get topographic information about where they are and more.

Google’s LatLong blog tells more

….as a part of our continued partnership with Virgin America, we’ve completely updated the Google Maps data on the touchscreens of every airplane seat. As before, the map shows you almost exactly where you are, and you can zoom and pan to explore. Now, with our beautiful terrain view and fresh Google data, the maps are not only prettier, but also highlight mountains, elevation and other natural features. In other words, it more closely matches what you’d actually see if you had cloud-penetrating eyesight and looked out the window from 35,000 feet.

Google Funds Research of Academics

While we are all quick to open up on Google with both barrels for a variety for reasons including privacy, service speed and more privacy there are some things happening that are not all bad.

Google has announced the that they have awarded about $4 million to about 75 projects “full time faculty pursuing research in a areas of mutual interest” for Q2. In other words, there are people doing things that can help Google who aren’t Google employees. As a result, of course, Google wants in.

While admittedly some of the listed projects are a bit beyond my scope of understanding, it is interesting to see this list from the Official Google Blog to get a glimpse of what is being done with data to help get more mileage from it.

Ortsbo Breaks the Language Barrier for Online Chats

ortsbo“Everyone is Local”

That’s the tagline for Ortsbo, a new social media translation platform that works in real time. The client allows a person to chat online with a group of friends who all speak different languages. Each person types in their native language and the software automatically translates the text to suit each of the individuals in the chat.

Currently, the free client interacts with Windows Live Messenger, Facebook, and Google Talk and it translates over 50 different languages. Now in Beta, the site is generating revenue through sponsorships and advertising.

For a fee of $29.95, you can get a Ortsbo plug-in for Microsoft Outlook which will allow you to display an email in two languages, your own and that of the recipient. Showing both languages is a nice touch as it can help avoid confusion when slang terms are literally translated. Ortsbo will also customize and license their application to businesses who want to use it within their own websites.

Google’s Street View ‘Mistake’ Gets Attention of 37 States

Google has pushed the boundaries on just about everything they have done. As of late, their Street View escapades have created some serious ill will on most continents. While it seems that some of the trouble has cooled off a bit ( but not completely by any means) outside of the US it may just be heating up stateside.

According to the Wall Street Journal

The attorney general of Connecticut said 37 states have joined his investigation of Google Inc. and that he continues to seek information about whether privacy laws were broken when Google’s Street View vehicles collected personal data of unsuspecting Internet users.

Twitter Building Dedicated Data Center

Twitter is preparing to move to a dedicated data center by the end of this year. If it allows for Twitter to be more stable then this can’t happen soon enough. Why should marketers concern themselves with this kind of information? It’s pretty simple. If the Twitter platform cannot be relied on to be consistently up and reliable then it is much harder to have valuable resources dedicated to efforts using Twitter. If you think companies are skittish now about whether Twitter is the “way to go” these recent technological missteps are not helping to ease that pain.

TechCrunch reports

Coca-Cola Gets Slammed For Vulgar Facebook Campaign

coca-colaCoca-Cola may be a business giant, but this Goliath is no match for a mom and her mouse! It all began innocently enough with a clever social media marketing plan to promote Dr. Pepper on Facebook. The program was designed to override the Facebook status box of an opted in user with fun but embarrassing quotes chosen at random.

“What’s wrong with peeing in the shower?” probably cracked up the football buddies when they saw it on Frankie’s Facebook page, but the mom of a 14-year-old girl wasn’t at all amused with what she found on her daughter’s account. The reference that started the ruckus was an homage to a particularly disgusting porno movie. A reference that has no business being tied to Facebook or Dr. Pepper, let alone the account of a child.

Not Marketing to Baby Boomers? You Should Be!

There are 78 million Baby Boomers in the US today but they’re largely ignored when it comes to marketing. Why? Conventional wisdom says that these consumers, born between 1946-1964, already have brand loyalty and no interest in technology or trying new “trendy” products.

According to a report by The Nielsen Company, conventional thinking is all wrong.

“Boomers are an affluent group who adopt technology with enthusiasm (think about the number of parents or grandparents who regularly send e-mails or upload photos to Facebook and other sites). They have also shown a willingness to try new brands and products.”

The report goes on to say that Boomers spend 38.5% of the money spent on consumer packaged goods but less than 5% of ad dollars are being spent to market to this group.