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Learn About Google at the Apple Store

I just returned from a trip to the Apple Store on Fifth Ave in NYC where I had an appointment with an “Apple Genius” to learn more about my MacBook. The store was completely packed, and it seemed like there were a ton of people speaking different languages. While the weak dollar may spell trouble for Americans, our Euro-toting counterparts are certainly taking advantage.

The main purpose of my visit was to learn a bit more about my new laptop and the Leopard operating system. The Genius showed me some cool features that I didn’t know about, which was very helpful. I also asked him to show me some important websites where I could find useful downloads to fully take advantage of my new computer. He bookmarked MacUpdate.com and a few other interesting sites.

Because I am a big Google user, I asked him some Google/Apple/Blackberry connectivity questions, and while he gave a me a little bit of help, it would have been even better if he could have shown me more.

That got me thinking.

Wouldn’t it be cool if Google opened a kiosk in the Apple stores to teach people how to use Google products in harmony with Apple products? I think this would be mutually beneficially for both companies, as Google would benefit from the exposure, and people would find more satisfaction with their Apple computers if they learned how to use various Google products on their Macs or phones. Both companies are cutting edge, and they probably hire the same type of driven people as employees.

I would love to learn more about Adsense, Google Storage, Gmail…etc, and as a person that likes to learn by reading and listening, it would be great to have a “Google tutorial.” While Google could set up kiosks in other places, I think it could be in the best interest of both companies if Google’s presence was seen in Apple stores.

(*Just as a bit of disclosure, I own a small amount of shares of Apple stock)

Argument to Remove Registrant Search Tool

In a blog post on November 11th, Jay Westerdal asks his blog readers for their opinions on whether DomainTools’ controversial Registrant Search tool should be taken down. Although I think it is a cool tool, I believe I have a strong case for why it should be taken down, and my case is supported by evidence provided by Jay in this morning’s blog post, “Chameleon typo squatters.”

In Jay’s newest post, he discusses how some people attempt to mask their identity by registering domain names using other companies’ registration information, with the only difference being the admin contact email address. Jay cites the example of the domain name GoogleWishes.com, which appears to be owned by Google, but uses a different contact email address.

With the  Registrant Search tool, this domain name would presumably be listed in Google’s list of domain names, when someone performs a Registrant Search using “Google” as a query. Because the email address differs from the actual email address used by Google in their domain registrations, this domain name does not appear to be owned by Google. However, GoogleWishes.com would appear in the list along with other Google properties such as  Google.com,  GoogleMaps.com,  GoogleVideo.com, and many more.

I know you can whittle down your results by entering more information (such as the usual admin contact email), but if a person ordered the results based on what appears in the Whois.sc/Google.com listing – (Registrant Search: “Google Inc.” owns about 8,211 other domains), this name would probably appear.

Although the domain name GoogleWishes.com would probably not hurt the image of Google, a devious person could severely impact a competitor’s or opponent’s image by registering pornographic or trademark infringing domain names in someone else’s name. Unless a careful examination is made of each name in the list, the Registrant Search tool could be damaging to the victim of a “chameleon typo squatter.”

Pump your Gas and Google

Ever find yourself at a gas station looking for directions?   When I was younger, my family pulled into a gas station in the Bronx, New York looking for directions out of the Bronx.   My dad asked the station clerk for directions, and she replied, “fill up your tank and I can help you.”   My dad filled up the tank and went back for the instructions, to which the woman replied “sorry, no hablo English.”

Soon, you won’t have to rely on the gas station service clerks for directions.   According to a CNN article  and the Gilbarco Veeder-Root website, Google has formed a partnership with gas station pump maker Gilbarco Veeder-Root, which just introduced their Applause Media System.    Gilbarco’s  pumps will  now include an Internet connection displaying Google’s mapping service on a small screen.

At first, pumpers will be asked to find their location by scrolling through many popular categories, including hotels, restaurants and hospitals selected by the gas station’s owner.   Once a destination is selected, the pump will print out directions.

This is another way Google is becoming involved in the search business.   Some of the other non-traditional search engine searching you can do include:

  • Dialing 1-800-GOOG-411  for free phone number services.
  • Texting “GOOGL” along with a business and city, and Google will send you the address and phone number.
  • Searching using  a Blackberry or other handheld device – Google.mobi

Someone asked me what I thought the % of people who would use the Google  pump maps  vs. in-car GPS systems.   That got me thinking, why doesn’t Google  develop an inexpensive  Google Maps branded GPS system?   Better yet, why not develop an in-car computer system to allow motorists to connect to the Internet using Google’s technologies?

My Introduction to Google Books

I was browsing Google today and noticed they added a feature at the top of the search results. In addition to the “Web” and “Video” links, they also added a “Books” link. When you do a Google search for a person, Seth Godin for example, you are given the standard results and an opportunity to click on the “Books” link, taking you to a page with all of the books that  author penned.

When you click on  one of the author’s books  “Permission Marketing” as an example (a book I read in graduate school) you are taken to a page that offers reviews, images and content from the book. There is also a box to the right where you can click on your favorite bookseller to buy the book.

This  is a HUGE revenue opportunity in my opinion. I receive 4% commission on certain products as an Amazon affiliate, and I am sure Google has a nice deal worked out with these book industry goliaths. I did encounter a problem when I clicked through on the Amazon.com link for this book – a 404 error page.

Who Googles What?

Sex, Nazi, burrito and Viagra: Who Googles what?

Reuters had an article today identifying the top 3 countries of searchers for some common Google searches including “sex,” “Tom Cruise,” and “Iraq” among other things. I did my own search regarding a few domain-related terms and here are some surprising results I found courtesy of Google’s Trend Tool:

“Domain Names”
1. New Zealand
2. United Kingdom
3. Australia

“Domain Sales”
1. Australia
2. India
3. United Kingdom

“Domain Parking”
1. Indonesia
2. Australia
3. Malaysia

“Web Development”
1. Pakistan
2. India
3. South Africa

Incidentally, it appears that all of these searches are trending down since inception.

Adwords: Buying A Competitor’s Domain Name

1

In August, I blogged about American Airlines suing Google for allowing other companies to buy their trademarked terms such as “American Airlines.”    I argued that Google should win this case because it was my opinion that another company should be able to buy generic keywords, like “American airlines,” since it isn’t necessarily associated with American Airlines.    Had it been a company with a more distinctive trademark, I would have argued that it was unethical to buy those keywords.    I have no legal background, so I couldn’t weigh in with a legal opinion.

That brings me to a post I just read on a forum about a company I do business with that is buying not only a keyword with the name of a competitor in it, but the actual domain name of the competitor.    I was surprised to see that when you type Sedo.com into Google, obviously searching for Sedo, there is a BuyDomains.com paid advertisement.    I don’t think this should be permitted by Google.    It’s one thing to buy keywords such as “Domain Brokers” or “Domain Sales,” but I don’t think it’s right to buy the exact keyword domain name of a competitor.

I am sure companies across a wide variety of industries are utilizing this practice, but that doesn’t make it right.

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