Google Voice Local Search Offers Free 411 Service

We already suspected Google might enter the 411 arena, when they were granted a voice recognition patent last year. With Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Tellme, it seemed even more likely that Google would one day launch a mobile voice search service.

That day is now here, with Google launching Google Voice Local Search.

As part of our ongoing effort to make the world’s information universally accessible, we’re testing a free service called Google Voice Local Search. Using this service, you get fast access to the same local information you’d find on Google Maps. But you don’t need a computer, you don’t need an Internet connection, and you don’t even need to use your cell-phone keypad. It’s voice-activated, and you can access it from any phone (mobile or landline), in any location, at any time.

No News is Good (Friday) News

Tomorrow is Good Friday, and this weekend is Easter. As such, things will be a little quiet on Marketing Pilgrim during this time of celebration.

If you’re traveling, stay safe!


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Google Confirms AdWords Display Changes

Many eagle-eyed readers have spotted Google’s testing of a new background color for AdWords shown above the main results, over the past few days. Google has now made the official announcement which includes a couple of changes.

First, we thought it was time for a new look: after months of testing, we decided to switch the background color of the top ads from blue to yellow. Second, we’ve modified what counts as a click in this box to be consistent with what counts as a click for the ads on the right hand side. Instead of clicking anywhere in the box, users now need to click on the link in the top line of an ad in order to be taken to an advertiser’s site. Together, these changes help decrease the likelihood that a user will unintentionally click on an ad, while making our highest quality ads more visible.

All Manner of Failures

How sad, on Maundy Thursday, too—all manner of failures:

  • Second Life marketing = failure: GigaOM outlines 3 Reasons Why Marketing in Second Life Doesn’t Work. Oh, good. Now that he’s taken care of that fad, I can go back to bashing covering mobile marketing.
  • Johnson & Johnson’s Ortho Evra: The patch itself has been quite effective at preventing pregnancy, but the company is embroiled with lawsuits over the accompanying increased risk of blood clots, etc. What’s a pharma company to do? Buy up and the like. (Interesting online reputation management strategy, I guess. via MediaPost).
  • Banners that blend in get better CTR: “That’s not a failure,” you say. Sure it is. It’s a failure of every banner that tries to stand out. Or, as ThreadWatch put it, “Banner blindness [is] getting worse.”

Blogosphere Grows to 70 Million

Despite rumors to the contrary, Technorati is not looking to sell, but looking deeper into their sphere. Technorati President, David Sifry, delivers the “State of the Live Webaddress post today, expanding the scope of Technorati’s quarterly State of the Blogosphere.

I had just noticed that the quotation in the upper right corner of Technorati’s SERPs had changed from “55 million blogs and some of them have to be good” to “71 million blogs…”

I was getting ready to type up a nice recap of the post when I got to the end of the article, and David had already summed it all up for me. Sigh. Here’s David’s summary of the findings:

  • 70 million weblogs
  • About 120,000 new weblogs each day, or…
  • 1.4 new blogs every second

Tomorrow is the Last Chance for SEM Scholarship Entries

If you’ve not yet submitted your entry for our second SEM Scholarship Contest, you’d better get a move on. We’ve had some submissions, but no where near as many as the last contest, so your odds of being one of the five finalists are very favorable!

Remember you have until 9pm ET April 6th (tomorrow) to submit your entry and secure your chance to win the $10,000 prize package!

Your article can be as few as 400 words, so there’s no excuse for not finding the time.

You could be our next winner!

Blog Meme – Five Reasons Why I Blog

It’s been far too long since a blog meme circulated through this neck of the woods, so let’s tackle the tagging handed down by Nathan Weinberg.

The tag seems to be a little weak – I don’t know if it should be 5 reasons, or just 1 – but here goes.

  1. I love blogging! I am totally and disgustingly addicted to blogging. I guess I’m one of those stereotypical net users that just likes to connect to people. Apart from a brief vacation, I’m rarely away from the blog. My wife constantly teases me; “You love that blog more than me, don’t you!”