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Simon and Schuster Links Online and Offline with Book Cover QR Codes

Remember QR codes? We haven’t talked about them in awhile because. . . well. . . the only people that seem to care about them are the corporations who stick them on everything.

Publisher Simon & Schuster is one of those corporations. They’re putting QR codes on the back cover of their new¬† releases. Why? They figure people will scan them, visit their website, and maybe sign up for a newsletter which they’ll get by email.

Yeah, good luck with that.

S&S does get props for their attempts to mix offline and online readers. They have a number of excellent, book related mobile apps and according to PaidContent, 26% of their sales are now digital. Nice, but I still don’t see how the QR code fits into the mix.

AOL’s Project Devil Ads Go Mobile

Back in September 2010, AOL announced a new kind of desktop ad system they called Project Devil. Devil ads are mini, branded playgrounds that serve up interactive content in the same places you’d find traditional banner ads.

A Devil ad for Nordstrom’s includes a fashion show video and a store finder. An ad for a movie includes the trailer, the buzz on Twitter and a link to buy tickets. Tour the inside of a car and click to get details on the features. Learn how to bake a cake then create a shopping list right from the app.

AOL says Devil ads have 4x the engagement rate, 3x the engagement time and increase purchase intent by 263%. And now, they’re coming to mobile.

Offline Maps for Android Goes Live

Now you can get a map of an area downloaded to your Android device so that map can be viewed offline. As we see this is only for Android devices (at least for now) the divide between iOS and Android grows wider and wider.

Along with this announcement comes an improvement in the Street View functionality as well. The Google Lat Long blog tells us

Google Takes to the Sky to Promote Scifi Style Hardware

When you’re presenting a highly-anticipated conference to the entire world, it behooves you to come up with some exciting antics to keep the audience engaged and talking.

I’d say Google succeeded when they hired skydivers, extreme bikers, and a mountain climber to deliver their latest product to the stage. Even more amazing, they followed the progress using Google+ Hangouts. To quote an old TV show title, that’s incredible!

The product was Google Glass, the lightweight, “unobtrusive” pair of glasses that doubles as a webcam and mini-monitor. When you wear them, you can broadcast a first person video of whatever it is you’re doing.

Google Intros New Tablet That Puts Content Front and Center

You know that old saying about content being king? Well, it truly is on Google’s brand new tablet the Nexus 7.

Google introduced the product along with several other key items and online upgrades at the Google I/O conference which is currently running in San Francisco. The conference is aimed at developers and from the beginning you could see that Google is working hard to open up the Android platform in hopes of getting more apps and more innovation.

The other thread running throughout the presentation is the idea of seamlessly moving from one activity to another and if anyone can make that happen, it’s Google.

Can Google’s Redesigned Mobile Ads Really Increase CTR’s by 100%?

If Google is going to claim a click through rate increase of 100% in their new mobile ad format then this is something to at least take note of, right?

On Friday, Google posted the following on their Inside AdWords blog.

People use their mobile devices to discover and engage with the world around them. Searching for local information is one of the most common activities on mobile – in the US, 94% of respondents said they had done so, and nearly every surveyed country reported numbers over 80%. With Google Maps, they make informed decisions about places to see, shops to visit, meals to eat, and more.

To enable advertisers to better connect with potential customers via mobile search, we have redesigned our local ad formats for Google Maps for Mobile. These have produced measurable results – in initial tests, these redesigned formats increased click-through-rates by 100%. This visual redesign will be rolling out today to the newer versions of Android phones.

The difference is striking. Here is the before

VS the new

Facebook’s Like Comes to Mobile Apps

Ever had the urge to Like something on an app so your friends on Facebook can see how much you like something because it is now true that “I like, therefore I am”? It’s a primal urge of the modern social being that until now was left unchecked and unsatisfied. To say the least, the world has been an increasingly mobile yet very hollow place without mobile like capabilities.

Well, never fear. Facebook’s quest for frictionless everything marches merrily along with the introduction of the the mobile like for apps.

From the Facebook developer blog

People share content on the web every day using the Like button. While this has been a key part of how people share, mobile apps have not been able to integrate the functionality. Now they can.