bing Introduces Map Improvements

The battle of the search engines is now shaping up even more as bing works to update and improve its own maps delivery. As with anything, competition is good and this kind of effort will give Google a shove to stay on top of its maps game. It also helps to highlight some other aspects of this search ‘arms race’ that are kind of stupid but, hey, it’s the Internet so what would you expect!

Bing is upgrading its maps to do some fun things through its “King of Bing Maps Challenge”. Below is the taxi fare calculator feature that is pretty slick.

Multiple Account Sign-In for Google Available (for some)

Google is rolling out a feature to help those folks with multiple Google accounts to keep track of everything without making themselves too nutty.

The Google Operating System blog explains it this way.

When you enable this feature, the most significant change is that you’ll see a new drop-down next to your email address in Gmail and other supported Google products. Click on the drop-down and you can sign in to a new Google Account without signing out from the previous account.

There is also some information from the Google Help Center that only served to confuse me.

Wall Street Journal Uses Scare Tactics to Alarm Readers About Advertisers

I am a big fan of the Wall Street Journal. It’s a business essential and you can pretty easily avoid the politics if they do not suit your tastes. With their All Things Digital group they do a great job of giving you the lowdown and many scoops on the digital world. As for the paper? Their digital coverage is certainly improving but a recent series on behavioral targeting shows what direction they are leaning toward in their message to the business people that read it. Be afraid, be very afraid, because the digital boogeyman is out to get you. I really wish they didn’t do that and here’s why.

Snuggie Understands Parody

We live in a very cynical and sarcastic world. One of the ways that people (myself included) feel a little bit of control or power is to make fun of things. I am not saying this is healthy but I am saying it’s just reality. As a result, products can often live and die by the amount of buzz generated that is derogatory and designed to make fun of it rather than promote it (even though it still does promote it which is often the point, right?).

One of the most derided and lampooned products of recent memory is the Snuggie. While I laughed when I first saw one of the cheesy infomercials about the ‘revolutionary’ product, I have to admit that seeing how much my daughter loves her Snuggie knock-off (now isn’t that ironic) makes me think twice.

Is bing Really Challenging Google?

We have noticed, along with many other people, just how Google and bing are beginning to look a lot alike. Google seems to be adding features that in some ways look very similar to bing’s interface. There has even been indications that Google’s stranglehold on the US search market is starting to loosen just a bit. So what does this all really mean?

According to the New York Times, this race to match features is creating some real competition. An article from this weekend opens with an interesting scenario.

Edwin Perello discovered that Bing, the Microsoft search engine, could find addresses in his rural Indiana town when Google could not. Laura Michelson, an administrative assistant in San Francisco, was lured by Bing’s flight fare tracker. Paul Callan, a photography buff in Chicago, fell for Bing’s vivid background images.

Content Mission: About.com Turns to B2B Market

Content for the consumer is good but let’s not forget content for the business world. The B2B world is always a bit of a laggard when it comes to Internet marketing techniques and practices but when it does catch on there is a lot of opportunity. About.com, a long time Internet success story, has seen the B2B light, so to speak. It is starting to move into the B2B space, which could be a wide open field if they can put it together in an attractive enough manner.

Webnewser reports

About.com is planning a major move into the business-to-business space, launching a number of industry-specific sites.

Google Opens Places API to Developers of Check-In Services

If Google were to put itself in to the geo-location game right now there may be some real howling about Google and world domination. Well, leave it to Google not to be completely out of any game. In the case of the check-in craze that is being pioneered by foursquare, Gowalla, Loopt and others, Google has found a way in without having their own ‘product’. How you ask? Google tells us at the Geo Developers blog

We have been delighted with the enthusiasm we have seen for the Places API, and the innovative ways in which developers would like to use it. We have seen applications that offer check-in to places and need to identify an individual place at which a user is currently located, applications looking to show a user Places around them, and applications looking to offer a search and browse experience for Places similar to that offered on Google Maps.