Google reveals top toy trends, adds 360 degree photos to search

Top Toys 2014Google is ramping up everything they can ramp for the start of the 2014 holiday shopping season starting with a richer mobile shopping experience.

Google already noted a 3.5x increase in smartphone shopping searches year-over-over. Even better, they’re already sending more mobile traffic to retailers per week from Google Shopping than they sent during the best week last year. Think about that. It’s not even Black Friday yet and they’re already sending a record number of shoppers to online stores.

To make the experience even more rewarding for everyone, Google is adding expandable product cards for popular products. The new product cards include important details (size, options, color, etc), customer reviews and available locations. Some products will also have the new 360 degree photo option so buyers can see what their choice looks like from every angle.

Friday Roundup: DM sharing on Twitter, a very merry Pinterest and more

Twitter TravelHello Friday followers, it’s time for another quick look at all those stories that were too small to print. The social networks keep tweaking their features and everyone is in the holiday spirit but whether it’ll be a good year or a so-so year depends on who you ask.

Let’s get to it starting with my favorite social network. . .

Twitter

Twitter’s been coming on strong lately and I like it. It’s as if they suddenly realized there was actual competition for second place and they knew they had to step it up if they didn’t want to lose out to Pinterest or Instagram.

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Facebook celebrates an increase in users while cutting branded posts down again

good-news-bad-newsFacebook has good news and bad news. In short, the good news is that more people are visiting the site on a daily basis. In September 2014, there was an average of 864 million Daily Active Users (DAUs) which is an increase of 19% year-over-year.

Mobile is growing at an incredible rate. Mobile DAUs were 703 million on average for September 2014, an increase of 39% year-over-year. Super numbers.

The bad news is that they’re reducing the number of branded Pages posts that hit the average user feed, again. Facebook softens the blow by saying that this new culling will only impact spammers – which isn’t you, right? But I’m not so sure.

Fashionistas in Texas would rather read emails on their smartphone

Fashionistas in Texas would rather read your email on their smartphone than on a desktop. It’s totally true, the new “Q3 2014 U.S. Consumer Device Preference Report” from Movable Ink says so.

It’s starts with this map.

Movable Ink map

Only 14 states lean toward desktop over a smartphone when it comes to reading their email, but that number is shrinking. A year ago, more than 20 states were leaning toward the desktop while folks in Maine and Vermont were desktop all the way.

In Q3 of 2014, 11 states strongly prefer a smartphone with Michigan, Louisiana, Illinois, Connecticut, Arkansas, and Alabama coming over to the mobile side since last quarter.

Three-quarters of millennials expect brands to be entertaining

Female_animal_trainer_and_leopardIf you had to describe your branded content in one word, what would it be? Informative? Engaging? Boring? (I hope not) Upbeat? How about entertaining?

In Facebook’s “Coming of Age on Screens” study, 72% of young millennials from all over the world said that’s what they expect from brands – entertaining content. That’s a lot to live up to. It’s a lot harder to be entertaining on command than it is to be informative but when you hit that sweet spot the returns are insane.

Evian’s crazy, roller skating babies video earned the company a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most viewed online ad ever, accumulating more than 25 million views in just two months. When they made that, they knew it was funny and highly entertaining, and I’m sure they hoped it would be a huge hit, but I doubt they expected it to blow up the way it did.

Facebook and Google curate content especially for you. . .and you. . . and you.

Every day, I’m introduced to several hundred pieces of content via social, email and search and still I know I’m not seeing everything I’d like to see. Argue with me if you like, but there’s a ton of great content on the internet and now Google and Facebook are going to help you see even more of it.

Google just added a Suggested for You section in Google news. Krishna Bharat announced the update on his Google+ page, a choice that always perplexes me. I understand Google wanting to use their own social network to disseminate information but it always feels so unofficial. It’s like they’re hoping no one will notice.

The link is located in the sidebar, just under the Top Stories list. This is what I found when I checked my Suggested Stories this morning.

Facebook takes another step backwards with a new Groups apps

Old School Chat RoomAbout seven years ago, Facebook convinced the denizens of the internet that it was not only safe to come out of the IRC chat rooms, it was actually a good thing. No more hiding behind fake names while you discuss a singular topic with a room full of people, half of whom are there just to annoy you. Facebook was a social network – a place to be yourself, show off your photos, reconnect with old friends and make new ones.

Seven years ago, Facebook convinced us that public was better than private but more and more it seems like they’re having a change of heart. Or maybe it’s us who have had the change of heart and Facebook is doing all they can to play along.