Google+ and its New Features – Part 1

Google is barging back into the social network space, attempting to leverage its giant email user-base with a new security-focused offering called Google+.

Google+, launched just a year after the tech behemoth’s first, widely criticized foray into social media, Google Buzz, is also full-frontal attack on social networking heavyweight, Facebook. Google is making a real attempt to build on the perceived weaknesses of existing networks.

Privacy is Key

The big battleground will be privacy. Facebook has come under increasing scrutiny for defaulting to the loosest security settings – Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg famously claimed that privacy is dead in the social networking age – and Google Buzz, too, came under fire for taking insufficient account of security concerns.

In response, Google+, which is currently still in “field-testing” phase, allows users to separate their network of contacts, or ‘connections’, into invisible ‘circles’, so users can control who gets to see what information. Connections can easily be swapped between groups – colleagues, friends or family, for instance – by dragging and dropping, which could be a big plus for Facebookers frustrated at the daunting prospect of sorting their giant network of friends into new groups after the fact.

Like Facebook, Google+ allows users to send messages to one another, via browser or smartphone, and upload image and video albums. Notifications and posts are displayed in a familiar-looking news feed, or ‘stream’. And instead of ‘liking’ a post, Google+ users can hit a ‘+1’ button.

Stay tuned next week for more on Google+!

Understanding Google’s Chromebook and ChromeOS – Part 2

This week, we continue our look at Google’s Chromebook and ChromeOS.

A Simpler, Cheaper Alternative

The Chromebook also promises big savings, with the overall cost of ownership (including hardware, software and support) coming in at about half that of a traditional PC, according to Google. The tech giant says its device costs about $1,500 all in, compared to about $3,000 for a PC.

Of course, the Chromebook isn’t for everyone. Anyone familiar with Google’s existing online office suite will know how simplistic it is. More complex tasks would still need to be performed with Microsoft Office, or something similar.

The device is also essentially useless without an Internet connection.

Still, the Chromebook’s slick simplicity will appeal to some cloud devotees. And this certainly won’t be the last we hear from Google in this space.

Here are the specs:

• 12.1 or 11.6 inch screen

• 16GB SSD storage


• Intel Atom 1.66GHz

• 8-second boot time

• Wi-Fi/3G or Wi-Fi-only


Understanding Google’s Chromebook and ChromeOS – Part 1

In a major nod to a cloud-computing future, Google has thrown its enormous weight behind a series of virtually storage-free laptops running its new Google Chrome operating system (ChromeOS).

The Chromebook, a “thin-client” laptop currently being built by Acer and Samsung, is designed as a leaner, more cost-effective alternative to the traditional laptop, which relies on a large hard drive full of software. All you need for a functional Chromebook is an internet connection.

The netbooks, which retail for between $349 and $499, shun Microsoft’s dominant Windows OS and its lucrative Office suite – including the popular Word, Powerpoint and Excel programs.  Instead, the Chromebook comes loaded with ChromeOS, which only runs a browser and associated programs – its tiny 16BG SSD storage doesn’t leave room for much else.

Cloud Capabilities

It’s designed for users to run everything through the Chrome browser, with all office work done online through existing apps such as Google Docs. Documents are then stored online, in the cloud. And that’s where you see some of the real benefits.

Cloud-based storage means you never have to worry about losing the laptop itself — it’s simply a way of accessing your information online. You could access and edit those same documents from a replacement Chromebook, or any other computer with an Internet connection. If you trust your cloud host, you never need to worry about losing data again.

Check back next week for more on Google’s Chromebook and ChromeOS.

A Look At The Major Cloud Computing Players – Google

In this week’s blog post, we’re continuing our look at the major Cloud Computing players by focusing on a titan in the industry, Google.

Google has been working in the cloud space for some time, and is primarily known for their Google Apps programs, which include: Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Sites and much more.

Google argues that cloud computing is the way of the future for a variety of different reasons.  Google Docs, for instance, offers a level of online collaboration not seen in standard software-based solutions.

Google also highlights the big impact that Cloud Computing can have in terms of tweaks to programs.  Quoting from their online blog, “In 2009 alone, we launched over 100 improvements [to our online applications], and customers didn’t need to manage any upgrades or patches”.  The easy-to-update, always evolving approach means that users don’t have to consistently re-learn new software every few years – instead, their knowledge grows slowly and consistently, as the software does.

In Conclusion:

Google has been a major leader in the cloud space, and their leadership is likely to continue as cloud applications continue to become more dominant.

Stay tuned next week for a look at Rackspace, and a perspective on where Cloud Computing is heading.

Top SEO Rank Factors and What They Mean – Part 1

I recently came across a relevant blog post and decided this may be an interesting post for some of the visitors of our blog, who may not be SEO experts yet have an interest in making their website rank higher. Disclaimer: I personally am not in the SEO field professionally, but take an avid interest in it and would like to share some of my knowledge with those that may find it interesting. With that, here is the list I compounded from the above blog and other places, of Top SEO Factors:

1. Age of Domain: I feel this, and the second item on this list, are probably the 2 single most important factors, especially for Google SEO. Unfortunately, this factor is often times beyond our control. If an opportunity arises, do purchase a domain name with significant age. Google does penalize you when the domain registration information changes as it knows the ownership changed, but the penalty is not severe.

2 .Inbound links: this is another very important factor. The basic premise behind Google algorithms is still the number of quality inbound links pointing at your domain. Of course, quality, or authority, of the links plays a huge factor – get an inbound link from the, which is considered an authority on government matters, and the benefit of this link is much higher then from some unknown site.

3. Title Tags: Title tags are what you see at the top of the browser (see pic), and what shows up as the website title when you do a search in google. Place your most important keyword closest to the beginning of the sentence, those count more.

title tag

4. Keyword on pages: Its only obvious that a search engine reads the text on your page, and sees if there is relevant content to the search query, and takes that into ranking account. Make sure your pages have relevant keywords, but do not overdo – this should come naturally if you have good content. Bolding important keywords makes a difference as well.

5.H1, H2 and alt tags: These HTML Tags are important to Google – you should have your most important keywords in H1 tags, less import in H2, etc..Also, every image should have an alt tag with a description. Please make sure to run your site through W3C markup validion and be sure it is error-free.

Well, this is it for part 1…to be continued….