‘New’ Google Search Look to Roll Out Everywhere

Google has taken the more search results focused look that they first rolled out in July and announced that it will ultimately be coming to all users after rolling out in the USA first.

From the Google Inside Search blog

You’ll notice a new simpler, cleaner design on the search results page — we’ve been working on ways to create a consistent search experience across the wide variety of devices and screen sizes people use today. We started with tablets last year, got it to mobile phones a few weeks ago, and are now rolling out to the desktop.

With the new design, there’s a bit more breathing room, and more focus on the answers you’re looking for, whether from web results or from a feature like the Knowledge Graph.

Facebook Offers Real Time Gift Option in iPhone Update

Facebook just released a new update for their iPhone / iPad app and it has a couple of features worth noting.

After a lot of talk, they’ve finally added the ability to send Facebook Gifts to friends – sort of. The app write-up and several news outlets say the feature has been activated but I couldn’t see any sign of it on my account.

If you do have it, you can send a real gift to a friend even if you don’t know they’re address. You simply choose them, pick a gift from the options available, pay for it and send. The receiver gets a notification, they confirm their mailing address and several days later the gift arrives. Pretty cool.

Instagram Goes Public with Profile Pages

Instagram, the photo site known for its retro filters, is an emerging trend in online marketing.  According to Simply Measured, 54% of the world’s top brands are currently using the site, including Nike, MTV, Starbucks and Gucci. In many ways, the site is similar to Pinterest with one big difference – Pinterest is an open window, Instagram is not.

When you navigate to Instagram.com, this is what you see:

Where’s the link to all these cool, photos that 54% of the top brands are posting? (Let me stop here and say, I don’t use Instagram, so I’m coming at this as a complete novice.) I’m guessing that the only way I can see anything is to download the app and start following people a’la Twitter or Facebook. Granted, a lot of people use the service, but how is this a good marketing tool?

Amazon Lockers Added At Staples Stores

One thing that amazes me is that although I watch the online industry day in and day out I get surprised by things that have been in the marketplace for a while on some level or another.

Most of the time these ‘surprises’ are things that happen at the intersection of the online and offline worlds. Note to self – pay closer attention to the intersection of the online and offline worlds because it could be powerful.

The latest thing that caught me off guard are Amazon lockers. Reuters reports how these are going to be installed at Staples stores. These stores are not the first to have them as the program has been piloted in Seattle, New York and London over the past year or so (OK so I am a little behind the curve, yell at me if you must but I don’t live in any of those markets either).

It’s Election Day – GO VOTE!

Stop reading and vote.

In the US, it’s your one chance to say your piece and not have anyone yelling at you or calling you names or questioning your IQ.

Take advantage of it.

Is Facebook’s Drop in Page Impressions By Design or a Sign of the Times?

Back in my day, you posted an update to your Facebook fan page and every one of your fans saw it on their newsfeed. There was none of this messing about with paid posts and tags and highlighting. You had something to say, you just said it and people were happy to read it. We also used our phones to actually call people and mail was delivered by a mailman! Those were the days.

It’s time to accept the reality: Facebook post views aren’t what they used to be. Here’s the proof from Socialbakers.

Why is this happening? It’s probably the result of a combination of natural factors – or you could go with the conspiracy theory.

Sears and Kmart to Offer Amazon-like Free Shipping Membership

The guy who invents a transporter beam that instantly delivers any size package anywhere for free will rule the world.

Today, Sears and Kmart announced an upgrade to their Shop Your Way membership program that sounds incredibly familiar – free 2-day shipping on “mailable items” for $79 a year. I’ve always thought $79 was a lot to fork over ahead of time in order to get fast, free shipping but at least with Amazon, you get free movie downloads and ebooks as a bonus.

What’s Sears offering? How about double points on qualifying purchases. Every 1,000 points equals $1 off a future purchase, so it sweetens the pot a little. Then they add in the promise of all kinds of exclusive deals and bonus opportunities. In other words, they’ve turned shopping at Sears and Kmart into a game. The goal? See if you can earn back the $79 you spent without breaking your budget.