Google+ Plus Google News, Does It Add Up?

In what should come as no surprise to anyone, today Google has announced more changes. This times they are focused on Google News but as with most changes and updates from Mountain View these days, Google+ is along for the ride.

The Google News blog reports

Many news stories inspire vibrant discussions on Google+, and today we’re starting to add this content to both the News homepage, and the realtime coverage pages. This way you can see what your circles, journalists covering the story and notables like politicians or others who are the subjects of stories have to say about breaking news, and even contribute to the discussion directly from Google News.

Note that these Google+ discussions will only appear for those of you reading the US edition who have signed in and upgraded to Google+.

Is Spirit Airlines No Refund Policy Worth the Reputation Damage?

Spirit Airlines is in the midst of what could only be described as a reputation dumpster fire.

Here is the quick back story. A Vietnam war veteran, Jerry Meekins, purchased a ticket on the airline to go to Florida to help his daughter out after a surgical procedure she was having. He purchased the ticket to make the trip. Mr. Meekins has battled esophageal cancer for two years (he is 76 years old). In between the time he purchased the ticket and the actual flight date he was told by his doctors that the cancer was now terminal and that he should not fly.

Survey Says Social Customer Service is Popular but Messy

There’s nothing like the spirit of competition to make a company jump on a new bandwagon. This time around it’s social media as a customer service channel.

Today we’re looking at the results of a survey by two companies, thinkJar and Sword Ciboodle. First off, we must stop to appreciate how totally cool those names are. Doesn’t everyone want to work for a company named Sword Ciboodle? Amazing.

Okay, now that I’m done fawning, let’s get to the facts. The study is called We Are Social: The State of Social Customer Service and the main takeaway is that companies are diving into social customer service before they know how deep the pool is or if they even know how to swim.

Yahoo Looks to Help Small Biz With Marketing Dashboard

One gets the sense that with all the turmoil that has beset Yahoo in the past several years there may still be hope for the company.

Unfortunately, there have been cuts in both product offerings and thousands of employees of the company and thus there has been a lot of pain. The company that once stood as an Internet icon even removed an iconic billboard from the San Francisco landscape last year.

So why have hope? Well, today the company announced a marketing dashboard for small business that looks pretty interesting. From the Yahoo corporate blog we get

Today, Yahoo! Small Business launched the Yahoo! Marketing Dashboard, a free tool that helps entrepreneurs discover new marketing opportunities to grow their businesses, while getting a comprehensive picture of their marketing results, online reputations, and website performance, all in one place.

Google Publishes Newest Style Guide for HTML and CSS

Whether anyone would like to admit it completely or not, because of the need to perform in Google’s search results, the search engine, at least indirectly, dictates how websites should be built. Fun things like Flash were vilified because of the havoc it caused in being properly seen by Google. There are probably many more examples that you folks who build sites could come up with as well (feel free to share them in the comments if you feel the need to vent).

Today (maybe to clear up some concerns?), Google has issued The Google HTML and CSS Style Guide. From the post on the Webmaster Central blog we get

Bing UI Changes Harken Back to Google of Old

Before I go into any discussion here I will admit that I use Google for about 99.9% of the searches that I do. I can’t say it’s because Google has better results than any other search engine because I honestly don’t take the time to compare. Instead I am one of millions, or more likely billions, here on the planet that have developed a Google habit. Having quit smoking a long, long time ago I can tell you that Google might be a more powerful addiction.

So the new UI changes by Bing are of interest but it’s not like I can compare my past experience with the engine to the “new” look. Here’s what Bing has to say from its blog post of today.

American Icons Top BrandPower List

An icon is a symbol that evokes a visceral feeling when you see it. They’re well-known images that nearly everyone can relate to and generally they represent the very best a category has to offer.

All that may sound very grandiose when talking about advertising, but there are handful of brands that truly are American icons. You’ll find most of them at the top of CoreBrand’s 2011 PowerRanking Report.

To build the list, CoreBrands surveyed 10,000 consumers asking them to rank brand names based on familiarity, reputation, and favorability over other brands. The usual suspects landed on top without too much shuffling in the rankings over the past few years. Harley-Davidson jumped up after a decline but I don’t get why they’re listed in the Hotel & Entertainment industry.