Archive for November, 2011

Google Debuts New Android-Focused Music Download Store

Posted: November 18, 2011 by FMstereo in Google, News

Google yesterday officially unveiled its full Google Music service, including a music download store offering a number of the same features as Apple’s iTunes Store. The newGoogle Music store arrives as part of the Android Market and seems designed to attract users to the Android platform by offering an alternative to Apple’s iTunes ecosystem. Like the iTunes Store, Google Music offers per-track pricing typically ranging from $0.69-$1.29, with over 13 million tracks available for purchase.The store offers more than 13 million tracks from artists on Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, EMI, and the global independent rights agency Merlin as well as over 1,000 prominent independent labels including Merge Records, Warp Records, Matador Records, XL Recordings and Naxos. We’ve also partnered with the world’s largest digital distributors of independent music including IODA, INgrooves, The Orchard and Believe Digital.

You can purchase individual songs or entire albums right from your computer or your Android device and they’ll be added instantly to your Google Music library, and accessible anywhere.

Google Music also includes some of the same cloud-based services offered by Apple as part of iCloud and iTunes Match, features that Google rolled out in beta form earlier this year without the support of its own music store. With Google Music, all music purchases from the market are stored online, with users also able to upload up to 20,000 of their own tracks for free.

The company is also integrating the new music service with its Google+ social networking platform, allowing users to post individual tracks to their Google+ pages where friends can take advantage of a one-time free stream of each track.Google is also rolling out an “artist hub” feature, which allows any signed or unsigned artist with distribution rights for their material to create a dedicated Google Music page for a one-time $25 fee. Artists can use their pages to share information and sell their music, with artists able to set their own pricing and receiving 70% of revenue.

One missing piece for Google is Warner Music Group, one of the four major music labels in the United States and which has yet to reach an agreement to have its content distributed through the store. Warner, which is said to still be in talks with Google, is the third-largest record label and holds approximately 20% of the market.

Originally published on Thursday November 17, 2011 11:37 am PST by Eric Slivka on MacRumors.
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How Apple’s Siri Could Destroy Local SEO

Posted: November 17, 2011 by FMstereo in Apple, iPhone, Market Trends, SEO
How Apple's Siri Could Destroy Local SEO

Have you met Siri yet? If not, it’s worth taking the time to learn more about the iPhone 4S’s digital ambassador, as she could represent the future direction of local search engine optimization.

On the surface, Siri — the voice recognition app that allows iPhone users to control their cell phones verbally — seems like a cool party trick, sending text messages from your spoken instructions, checking the weather and setting up calendar reminders. But does this added functionality really mean the end of traditional local SEO as some experts are predicting?

In some ways, yes. The real impact of Siri isn’t just that she acts like a personal assistant. The potentially huge ramifications for local SEO come from the depth of information Siri is able to access and the range of actions she can perform.

For example, Siri can call you a cab after a night on the town by automatically processing information about local cab companies in response to the query, “Call me a cab.” Automating the search process means you never look up “cab companies in your area” in the search engines, avoiding the traditional search engine results pages and pay-per-click advertisements entirely, therefore limiting their importance and influence.

Little is known about how exactly Siri collects and processes information, although it’s reasonable to assume that the program is drawing on well-cultivated public data sources, including Google Places, Yelp and similar sites. If Siri is eventually able to pull information from third party apps — as many predict she will be — she could effectively eliminate traffic to some traditional websites. As an example, automatically checking people in to Facebook places eliminates the need to visit those places’ websites.

And when you take into consideration that the iPhone 4S has become the company’s best-selling iPhone in just a few short weeks, due in large part to the innovative Siri technology, local business owners should take note of this trend and invest time in optimizing their sites for mobile discovery.

Here’s what you need to do to make your business website as accessible as possible to Siri and related voice recognition tools:

Optimize your website for mobile. This isn’t new advice, as the rules for mobile SEO — and the idea of local SEO in general — have been around for years. But as some sources estimate that 30 percent of all searches could include a local component by 2015, it’s more important than ever to make local SEO a priority for your business.

In addition to thinking about how consumers access your website while on the go, consider whether or not Siri can access important information about your business as well. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Add a mobile site template. Having users land on a mobile version of your website willmake them much happier, and it isn’t difficult to do, as mobile-ready themes already exist for publishing platforms including WordPress, Joomla and Drupal.
  • Enhance your local SEO. Prominently feature your physical address, local phone number and operating hours on the home page of your site for maximum local SEO benefits.
  • Remove data obstructions. Yes, Flash graphics and Javascript are already “no-no’s” when it comes to mobile optimization, but also consider how easily Siri can access the information on your site. Burying pertinent information in PDFs and sub-pages could put your site at a disadvantage.

Enhance your digital presence. It’s no longer enough to simply set up profiles on Facebook and Twitter and call it a day. Instead, establish a profile on any of the following directories and review sites and encourage customers to rate your business there for maximum exposure.

• Foursquare
• Savings.com
• Retailmenot
• Judy’s Book
• Citysearch
• Superpages
• Yellow Pages

To determine which of these options are the best fit for your business, do a quick search to see which business sites in your geographic area and industry are ranking well in Google and create profiles on whichever of the following sites they’re using.

Implement microdata. If you’re savvy in the ways of SEO or have an IT manager who is you’ll want to consider adding “schema tags” to your website. Schema tags allow your site to incorporate relevant microdata — local business, address, telephone and open hours, for example — that could help Siri and the search engines process important information about your site more quickly.

While Siri on her own doesn’t necessarily spell the end of local SEO it’s worth taking note of the popularity this mobile data management system has gained in a relatively short period of time. As Siri evolves and other operating systems adopt similar technology, the businesses that benefit most will be those that best understand how their customers interact in a mobile environment and optimize their sites to engage them.

Originally published by: AJ Kumar on 17th November 2011, in Entrepreneur.

Mobile analytics firm Flurry today reports on the continuing shift in portable gaming from dedicated devices to smartphones and other multipurpose devices. According to results compiled by Flurry from NPD market research and Flurry’s own mobile app data, Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android mobile operating systems will account for 58% of portable gaming revenue in the United States for 2011, an almost exact flip-flop from 2010 when dedicated device leaders Nintendo and Sony held 57% of the market.The most striking trend is that iOS and Android games have tripled their market share from roughly 20% in 2009 to nearly 60% in just two years. Simultaneously, Nintendo, the once dominant player, has been crushed down to owning about one-third of market in 2011, from having controlled more than two-thirds in 2009. Combined, iOS and Android game revenue delivered $500 million, $800 million and $1.9 billion over 2009, 2010 and 2011, respectively.

Flurry’s data for 2011 is based on estimates for the final two months of the year, but suggests that the rapid growth in gaming on smartphone platforms is showing no signs of slowing. The market dynamics of free or low-cost games sometimes supplemented by in-app purchases and played on multi-function devices versus dedicated gaming devices with relatively high-cost game titles are clearly playing out in favor of iOS and Android. The result has been a surging gaming market increasingly attracting casual gamers willing to spend a few dollars to play on their phones, while established players have seen not only their shares but also their revenue declining each year.

Nintendo has been resisting increasing pressure to bring its games to the iPhone and other platforms, sticking by its long-standing tradition of making its games exclusive to its own hardware. Flurry suggests that the rapidly-shifting landscape of portable gaming may soon bring Nintendo face-to-face with a “Nokia-like” decision whether to jump over to smartphone platforms or watch its business erode away.

Originally published on Wednesday November 9, 2011 12:37 pm PST by Eric Slivka in MacRumors.

Where Should You Post Your Social Media Status?

Posted: November 3, 2011 by FMstereo in Social Media