Google Goggles Upgrade Now Recognizes Print Ads

Google Goggles is a smartphone app that allows you to use an offline photo to search for items online. Point your phone at the Empire State Building and zoom, your phone delivers a list of websites with everything you ever wanted to know about the landmark. Take a photo of a brand logo and you’ll be wisked to the company’s website.

Nifty, huh? But it gets better. Now you can take photo of an ad in any major newspaper or magazine and Google will return search results for the product being advertised. Picture it. So there you are in the doctor’s office, flipping through People magazine and you see an ad for the latest Glee CD. Snap a picture, follow the links and thirty seconds later you’re listening to peppy cover of Toxic on your iPhone. Talk about impulse buying.

UK Watchdog Sinks its Teeth into Celebrity Twitter Endorsements

Get ready for some shocking news. Celebrities are hawking products for money and some of them are not providing full disclosures as required by the FTC. That means when Snoop Dogg gave a shoutout to the Sienna Minivan, it wasn’t because he liked the car, it’s because he got paid to do it!

I’ve rocked your world, I know. Take a minute. I understand. I’m sure at least half of you went out and bought that car because Snoop Dogg said it was cool and now you’re feeling scammed.

Fear not, the OFT is on your side, if you live in the UK, that is. The Office of Fair Trading is a UK consumer protection agency and they’re taking this celebrity endorsement issue seriously. An article in this weekend’s The Guardian, says that the OFT has already filed suit against a PR company that sells promotional blog posts and celeb Twitterers may be next.

#HashtagsTopTwitterTrends

One of today’s trending Twitter topics is the hashtag #tiredofthat. It’s spurred people to list the multitudinous things they’re tired of such as “being alone on Valentine’s Day,” “the Twilight Saga” and the ever encompassing “Monday through Friday.”

One thing people are #nottiredof, are hashtags. According to What the Trend, hashtags have taken over the top spot as the category that gets the most Tweets.

In 2009, entertainment was the most Tweeted about topic with 39% of the pie. The next closest category was sports with only 11%. In 2010, entertainment dropped to 28% and hashtags took 40% of the pie.

The Ultimate in Mobile: Connected Cars at CES

Have a long commute to work? Why not make the time count by having your email read to you as you drive? All you need is a BMW with ConnectedDrive.¬† Running late for that movie? Toyota’s EnTune service will allow you to buy your tickets from the car. If these in-car distractions cause you to have an accident, no problem, OnStar has partnered with Verizon on a gizmo that will record the accident and you can even use the system to send a Twitter update.

Opps. Fender bender. Going to be late for dinner! #mycarmademedoit

Connected cars are all the rage at this year’s CES and that makes me wonder if this isn’t the next big thing in marketing.

Could Social Media Sharing Violate Copyright?

Everyone agrees that stealing the work of another person is wrong, but the definition of what constitutes stealing is a murkier matter. In most cases we roll back to the term “fair use” which allows a person to quote a section of an article or book for the purposes of education or discussion. You see that here all the time. There’s no malicious intent and there is no damage to the original party. On the contrary, the original writer will likely get a traffic boost from people clicking through to the source material, so it’s often a good thing.

Now here comes Righthaven LLC. According to a story in Fortune, the law firm is taking an aggressive stance against copyright violators by skipping the cease and desist letter and going straight to court. In every case, they’re demanding $150,000 in damages and the offender’s domain name. Ouch.

Rumors Say Linkedin May Be First to IPO

Facebook may get more than its share of buzz, but Linkedin, the social media network with an eye toward business relationships, has been quietly sneaking up on the world. According to the LA Times and a variety of other sources, Linkedin appears to be priming itself for an early 2011 IPO.

Sources say that Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase all took meetings with Linkedin back in November and the timing couldn’t be better. With the financial world all a flutter at the thought of investing in a social media site, Linkedin would be smart to jump in before Facebook steals the spotlight once again.

New Skype for Business Includes Group Video Chat

Group Video Calling is now part of Skype for Business. This handy new feature¬† allows you to host video calls with up to ten people at the same time and it’s only going to cost you $8.99 a month.

From a marketing perspective, this system allows you to do something you can’t do with email and that’s get face time with your customers. Group Video Calling is particularly useful for those of you in the business-to-business arena. For example, you’ve got a new updated widget that you’d like to pitch to a client. Using Skype Group Video Calling, you can get the VP, the department head and the CFO all on the line at the same time while you demonstrate the product. Seeing them react as you progress through the features and benefits is invaluable information that you can use to hone your sales pitch.