Google Maps Keeps Experimenting in Labs

With all the hubbub surrounding Google+ and all the other cool kid toys, Google keeps right on announcing cool additions to truly useful tools like Google Maps.

The latest comes from the Maps Labs section for Android users (sorry iPhoners, this one’s not for you just yet). While it seems simple we must remember that some of the best ideas are just that: simple.

What Google allows users to do now is simply download a map area to their device. You see, even the Goog is rendered helpless when you find yourself in a foreign land with no data coverage. So from the “prior planning prevents poor performance department” you can download a map area to your Android device before you take off so you will have the map even if you have outkicked your data coverage.

Facebook, Google+ or Something Else? Whose Side Are You Taking?

The past week has brought some significant change (or opportunity for change?) to the landscape of the social web. The biggest news being the initial trial balloon sent up for Google+ (with the supposed general rollout happening at the end of this month) and the announcement of the Mark Zuckerberg proclaimed ‘super awesome’ deepening of the relationship between Facebook and Microsoft (can that be a good thing?) with the Skype via Facebook video chat offering.

There is much to consider now from a personal and professional standpoint. With every ‘innovation’ it becomes increasingly clear that the one thing that even Mark Zuckerberg or Larry Page can’t change is that pesky 24 hours in a day rule. In other words, we are all only human and can only handle so much and have a life as well.

Dear Google, Your Software Notifications Look Like Phishing Emails

The very latest version of WordPress requires MySQL 5+ which is something Marketing Pilgrim was not running. No problemo, we simply contacted our host RackSpace and they scheduled the upgrade last night.

In the meantime, we received notification that our site was not using the latest version of WordPress, from Google nonetheless.

At first my phishing alarm bells went off louder than a hurricane siren and I deleted the email. Then, out of curiosity as to where the phisher was trying to send me, I went back to the email. Low and behold, the email is legit. Google announced such email notifictions back in 2009.

But, seriously, take a look at the actual email format:

Is it just me, or does that scream “phishing email, kill it, nuke it, blast it to smithereens”?

Mobile App Users Are Willing to Pay to Play

Apparently girls aren’t the only ones who just want to have fun. According to a new report by Nielsen, games are not only the most popular category of apps, but 93% of downloaders are willing to pay for the privilege.

As you can see, entertainment of all kinds came in on top, with news at the low end of this scale. Still, 76% represents a nice chunk of change so things are looking pretty sweet for paid app owners.

Nielsen also found that iPhone users spent almost double the amount of time playing games as any other smartphone user. A full 14.7 hours a month for iPhone users, while the rest of the pack averages 7.8. Those are hours spent concentrating on a single screen and though people do multitask while playing mobile games, it’s usually only to listen to music or communicate on Facebook.

Facebook and Skype: How Awesome?

Facebook has taken another giant step toward making sure you never have to leave the website. It’s a new chat system that is backed by Skype and it’s “awesome.”

Actually, “awesome” is Mark Zuckerberg’s word for it, I’d go with “interesting.”

Zuckerberg and CEO of Skype, Tony Bates took the stage today to make the announcement via live stream and to a room full of fast-typing reporters. The update has three parts; chat sidebar, group chat and video chat.

Have something you need to talk over with your friends, start with the new chat sidebar. Here you’ll find a running list of those you message the most.

Next Six Weeks Hold Big Changes for Google As We Know It

When the announcement was made at the start of this year that Larry Page was moving to the helm of Google many wondered just what that might mean for the search giant. Now we are halfway through the year (with the official date of Page’s tenure beginning just at the start of April and things are changing rapidly.

Here is a rundown of what to expect over the next six weeks:

Google+ goes public – The grand experiment that is Google+ is expected to go from this limited field trial it is currently running to a full blown public service. This will be a watershed moment for Google since the widespread adoption of the social network will be critical for the search giant’s credibility in the social realm. That launch, whenever it happens (rumored on or before July 31), will be very interesting to watch.

Twitter Adding Wall Feature in Future

Twitter is recognizing that in order to grow it simply needs to be a bit easier to use for people who don’t live and breath this stuff every day. It must be hard for these guys to admit it because it seems to take them an awful long time to make what appear to be simple changes.

The latest comes in the form of an experiment for a small percentage of Twitter accounts with a Facebookesque ‘wall’ for replies to an account right on that account’s profile page. Mashable ID’d this first.

The following description by The Business Insider is both funny and sad as well since it points out the great divide that we in the industry act as if it doesn’t (or at least shouldn’t) exist but it does in a way bigger than we all know,