Google Announces Update to Flash Indexing

Google announced today that they have improved their flash indexing capabilities. Last year they announced an update to their flash indexing, and let’s just say it wasn’t well received. This time around, Google claims to be able to index external flash resources. For those non-Flash experts out there, SWF files use an external file to load content. This content can be in the form of HTML, XML  or even another SWF file. Google’s update analyzes and extracts the content in that file, and then they index it.

My initial reaction (which was confirmed by the screenshot they provided) was this will be horrible from a user’s perspective. Depending on what type of content lives in that external file, what Google extracts from it could look like jibberish. Here is the example screenshot they provided of a search result that utilizes this update:

AOL to Focus on Local Search?

CNET announced today that AOL has purchased two local-oriented sites: Patch and Going.com. As CNET pointed out, the acquisition of Patch isn’t a big surprise, as newly appointed AOL CEO Tim Armstrong founded and invested in Patch while working as Google’s sales chief. Armstrong believes that “Local remains one of the most disaggregated experiences on the Web today—there’s a lot of information out there but simply no way for consumers to find it quickly and easily.”

He’s hoping that Going.com will give AOL another way to capitalize on that market. Going.com offers event and invitation services, along with ticketing and ways for locals to connect with one another. The goal of the acquisition is to build out AOL’s local services, but is it also insight into AOL’s new market strategy?

Google Android To Release 18 Phones by Year End

g1 phoneGoogle claims we can expect to see at least 18 phones with the Android operating system by year’s end, possibly 20. Which phone carriers they will be on has yet to be determined, according to the New York Times. Currently T-Mobile’s G1 and a phone available in Europe called “Magic” by HTC are the only phones that give Google credit for using their Android OS.

If the Android phones can be released sooner rather than later, it should provide some interesting competition for the summer phone war against the iPhone and Blackberry, among others. The applications available for the Android will play a major factor in consumer’s buying decisions.

Pass or Fail: Twitter’s Reality TV Plans

UPDATE: Looks like there won’t be a Twitter TV show.

In an effort to capitalize on its increased attention, Twitter has agreed to a TV deal with Reveille Productions and Brillstein Entertainment Partners. And not just any TV series, friends, a REALITY TV series (cue the hallelujah chorus). I think we’ve all had this void in our life, and in our TV lineups in particular, that was missing something . . . something AMAZING. The Twitter reality TV show is just that.

Who wouldn’t want to see people stalk celebrities via Twitter? What’s that you say? You can already see people stalking celebrities on Twitter by simply visiting twitter.com? Blasphemy! This has number one TV rankings written all over it.

Twitter Counting on Tools, Not Ads, For Revenue

Some exciting news in the world of Twitter. According to Reuters, Twitter will be rolling out revenue-generating features by the year’s end. I know what you’re thinking: “Great, here come the ads.” Well you are wrong, my friend. Twitter believes they can stay ad-free by developing various add-on tools and services for the businesses and professional users of Twitter.

“There are a few reasons why we’re not pursuing advertising — one is it’s just not quite as interesting to us,” Twitter co-founder Biz Stone told the Reuters. “There are no people at Twitter who know anything about advertising or work in advertising. So we don’t have anyone there to make or take those calls.” How comforting.

GMail Makes it Easier for You to Switch

It can be a huge pain to change your cell phone number. These days, it’s just as complicated as changing email addresses. Gmail is making it easier for us all. Google announced yesterday that Gmail now migrates email and contacts from other email providers, including Yahoo!, Hotmail, AOL, and many more. Taking it one step further, Gmail also gives you the option to forward your email messages for up to 30 days while you test it out.

To set this up, just head over to your Gmail settings, and you’ll see a new tab labeled “Accounts and Import.” While this feature is available for all new Gmail accounts, it is still being rolled out on existing accounts so be patient if you don’t see these options just yet. Businesses and schools using Google Apps won’t see these new migration options.

Ask.com CEO Ready to Part Ways

After 18 months on the job, current Ask.com chief executive, Jim Safka, will be leaving the company.

The decision to leave was difficult for Jim, and it came about under very unfortunate circumstances. Jim’s brother recently passed away, causing Jim to re-evaluate his life. Marketing Pilgrim wishes Jim best of luck in his future endeavors.

Jim’s departure won’t be easy for Ask, as they are already far behind competitors in the search engine realm (only a 2.1% market share in March). Jim was originally hired to replace Jim Lanzone as part of the company’s shake up back in January 2008.

In an e-mail to the company’s staff, InterActiveCorp CEO Barry Diller acknowledged Jim’s contributions to the company: