The blogosphere has been speculating about the cancellation of Google’s Click-to-Call Service over the past few days as a result of a Google Blog post stating that Google was cancelling the service. According to Michael Arrington at TechCrunch, “the real story here is that the Google blog has been hacked.”
In reading the original post (which was quickly removed from the blog), this should be obvious. Google is known for hiring brilliant, well-educated people, and this blog entry just does not fit:
Notice that the wording of the post makes little sense combined with spelling errors throughout. This reads more like a spam email than an official Google blog entry.
Update 10/8/06 12:00 PM: Om Malik reported that a Google spokesperson has confirmed that an unauthorized user created the fake post. The Google spokesperson also said that the Click-to-Call service was proceeding on schedule.
Google’s plans to digitize libraries of books has come under fire from publishers eager to protect copyrights; however, publishers participating in Google’s Book Search Partner Program are seeing a significant benefit. According to Reuters, publishers participating in Google’s book search and Amazon’s Search Inside programs are benefiting from additional sales:
“Google Book Search has helped us turn searchers into consumers,” said Colleen Scollans, the director of online sales for Oxford University Press.
She declined to provide specific figures, but said that sales growth has been “significant”. Scollans estimated that 1 million customers have viewed 12,000 Oxford titles using the Google program.
Specialty publisher Springer Science + Business reported sales growth of its backlist catalog using Google Book Search, with 99 percent of the 30,000 titles it has in the program getting viewed, including many published before 1992.
“We suspect that Google really helps us sell more books,” said Kim Zwollo, Springer’s global director of special licensing, declining to provide specific figures because the company is privately owned.
“Our experience has been that the revenue generated from Google has been pretty modest, whereas the Amazon program has generated more book sales,” Penguin Chief Executive John Makinson told Reuters at the Frankfurt Book Fair this week. (Quotes from Reuters)
These examples highlight the importance of open marketing that lets people see some of the content prior to buying. In many cases, showing some of the book can generate interest in a book that would not have otherwise caught someone’s eye. It also gives people the opportunity to see what they are buying, mirroring the brick and mortar book buying experience of leafing through a book. Hopefully, this trend will continue, thus giving buyers more information about potential purchases leading the way for Google and others to find similar opportunities to add value outside of the book market … who knows what Google might come up with next.
Netvibes just released a new update (code named Cinnamon) with new features, new modules, and a better user interface.
I have been using Netvibes for a couple of months, and I use it constantly. I tried more RSS readers than I can count, and I hated all of them. Prior to Netvibes, I could not find any RSS readers that worked better than than the RSS functionality built into Firefox. The beauty of Netvibes is that they manage to cram a bunch of feeds on the screen, but organize it in a way that never seems overwhelming or cluttered. I can see all of the posts from more than a dozen blogs without scrolling, mouse-overs give me the first couple of sentences, and I can chose to read any post within the Netvibes interface or natively as a new tab in Firefox. Almost everything is configurable; I can have multiple tabs; and the content is easily organized by dragging and dropping.
Netvibes has also integrated a number of very useful modules. Michael Arrington uses it daily for one stop access to a variety of web services. I can see my unread Gmail messages, my delicious bookmarks (including sort by tags), the front page stories on Digg, the weather and more from a single page.
The best part is that I rarely have to wait on anything. Quick, configurable, intuitive, and easy to use … everything I want in a web app.