A few weeks ago, Google briefly made a “Google Now” topics page available on the web and then took it down again. The page showed a list of topics Google believed you were interested in, based on your search history. Now this feature is back, but it’s a bit different from the leaked page. A few days ago, it seems, the company quietly (re-)launched this feature with the latest Google Now update. The leaked page was also visible on the desktop, but it looks like Google has plugged this hole the cards are now only available on Android – and only by going through Google Now‘s research cards.
On this page, you can still see many (but not all) of the topics that Google thinks you are interested in. The feature will now pop up at the bottom of Google’s research cards, which often appear after Google realizes that you’ve been researching a certain topic in depth. One of the reasons for this card to pop up, for example, would be when Google detects you are planning a trip.
To see this information, Google Now offers a link will appear underneath these cards (“Explore now,” then look for the “More of your topics” links in the top right) that allows you to delve a bit deeper into the topics you recently looked for and to get a different view of your search history. Indeed, besides powering the research cards, they mostly offer you a richer view of your search history.
Unlike Google’s search history page, however, this feature shows you an aggregate view of what Google believes you are interested in, not just a list of all of your searches.
In my case, for example, Google knew that I was looking for a hotel last weekend and had been looking at hotels in New York a few weeks ago, too. It also knows that I was looking for restaurants in Portland, did some research on web browsers, smartphones and Sim City.
For now, this feature is only available on Android, as the Google Now research cards haven’t launched on iOS yet (where they would be available trough the Google Search app).
Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be a way to just surf to this page without having a research card available through Google Now.
Google Now has always been about anticipating your needs and performing searches for you before you. The research cards clearly fit into this pattern and so does the ability to delve a little bit deeper into what Google thinks it knows about you.
This, of course, shows you how much Google really knows about you – which is either really cool or creepy, depending on your overall thoughts about Google and privacy.
When Google mistakenly leaked the topics page earlier this year, it looked like this would be another step in bringing Google Now to the desktop. Sadly, it looks like that isn’t quite the case and that we’ll still have to wait a bit before Now makes it debut on Chrome for the desktop, but with the new notifications system and a flag to enable Now in Chrome, it’s just a matter of time before Google will launch this feature.
Top small business news stories this week looked at what to do when you get suspended on Twitter, and policy changes. We also brought you information about new products such as the latest BlackBerry, a new tablet hybrid, and the possibility of a color book e-reader. Also in the headlines is the life and times of a 26-year-old tech tycoon who has made it big … really big!
Read on as the Small Business Trends editorial team takes you behind the scenes with these stories and more. We don’t just bring you a bunch of noise — we add context to show you how the news affects your business.
How to come back from a Twitter suspension. Lately, members of the small business community have experienced unwarranted suspensions on Twitter. Contributors to Small Business Trends and even one of our own team member’s accounts were shut down without notice. We give a behind-the-scenes look at one Twitter suspension — and how to recover from it. First step – don’t panic!
Google+ Still missing the boat with big brands. Google+ may be popular with users, but some brands don’t seem to feel the same. A recent study finds that 40 percent of the major brands with a presence on Google+ have either never posted content on the social media site or do so infrequently. However, as we point out, that’s not a good reason for small businesses to stay away. Get your Google+ page up and active, and don’t wait until you have to play catch up.
Hangout with pizzazz. You’ve probably heard of Google Hangouts. Some of us may even use them for business. But now an app allows you to add a dash of style as well. We show you Hangout Magix, a tool that will give you new options when it comes to adding Google Hangout graphics like logos, speaker names and titles, captions and more.
New BlackBerry Q5 – 3 So Far This Year for BlackBerry. The new Q5 smartphone is aimed at developing markets, not at North America. But the phone is a reminder of how pervasive mobile devices have become in the world … and how BlackBerry is reinventing itself with the BlackBerry 10 software platform.
HP targets iPad with new hybrid tablet. What’s cheaper than an iPad and able to function as both a tablet and a laptop? It’s called the SlateBook x2, and it’s coming in July from HP. The device is priced at $475, just $20 under the current iPad’s recommended manufacturer retail price. And hey, you get a keyboard, which business users love.
Could a color Kindle e-reader be on the way? Sure the Kindle Fire already displays content in color, but it’s really a tablet computer rather than a book e-reader. A new color e-reader would offer advantages over its black and white counterpart without some of the disadvantages of a tablet (such as price and battery life). Rumors abound based on an acquisition Amazon made - although so far no confirmation has come out of the book etailing giant.
Immigration: E-Verify isn’t required for all businesses – YET. This online system lets employers check with a government database to be sure workers are legally able to work in the U.S. The trouble is that using it is costly in terms of time and productivity, especially to small businesses. In the opinion of many it needs to be simplified. It could also be mandatory in just four years, if Senate bill 744 making its way through Congress now is passed. But if there’s any good news in this, it’s that a provision to accelerate mandatory adoption to just 18 months was defeated in committee. So we’ve got that going for us. :)
Feds owe $3 million dollars in fees to small businesses. The U.S. owes a lot to small businesses in more ways than one. A recent investigation by the U.S. House Committee on Small Business shows the U.S. federal government owes 1,281 small businesses approximately $3 million collectively in termination fees after the government failed to meet its minimum purchase commitment of at least $25,000 each on the GSA schedule. Small business contractors, rejoice.
NFIB Celebrates 70 years. We look back at the history of the organization as it celebrates its 70th birthday. Learn how and why the National Federation of Independent Business was founded. Learn about its 300,000 members and why we need a strong advocate like the NFIB on the side of small businesses.
Who wants to be a millionaire? It’s probably the dream of every tech entrepreneur young or old to become the next Mark Zuckerberg. This week, David Karp, founder of social blogging platform Tumblr, proved entrepreneur dreams can come true. Karp’s site was bought by Yahoo for $1 billion making the 26-year old the latest tech tycoon and overnight mega-millionaire.
Stay Alive. Your business’s survival may depend upon it. Literally! A study recently found that companies whose majority owner had passed away within the first 10 years of founding performed much worse as time went on — even when there was a company management team in place to carry on. So remember, having the founding entrepreneur stay alive is good for business.
Marketing & Resources
What is Gangnam Style? If you still haven’t heard of Korean-based rapper Psy and his monster hit, read on. Psy became a global sensation when his music video — a self-made effort — reached 1 billion views. And his success can teach small business owners more than you might think about marketing on a budget and standing out from the crowd.
Who’s in your ExpertCircle? Here’s a new Web service for small business owners who trust their peers’ judgment when selecting products and vendors for their businesses. The site, launched by Doc Stoc, allows you to submit your favorite products and vendors for others to see and to endorse or critique vendors and services on the site.
Learn from your customers. Customer experience is an important thing for companies to pay attention to. Your customers are the life blood of your business, of course. In this panel discussion, three industry leaders talk about what customer experience means to their companies.
Main Streets May Soon Be Without a Bank. Rohit Arora, CEO and Co-founder of Biz2Credit pulls together some scary numbers regarding the U.S. banking industry. They’re especially frightening for entrepreneurs in need of funding. Over the last three years, banks have been steadily closing branches around the country, leaving some communities without a local bank, he said.
Looking for a financing alternative? Financing for small businesses has never been so complex or has involved so many options. Pierre Debois reviews a book with a funny sounding title. But “Spank the Bank: The Guide to Alternative Business Financing” may provide some of the answers you need.
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On this week’s Ask A VC episode, Index Ventures partner Danny Rimer joined us in the studio. Rimer has been in the venture industry for over 11 years so he had plenty to share on how VC has changed, and the differences in the venture world in Europe and the U.S.
Rimer, who has led the firm’s investments in Etsy, Nastygal and many others, also talked to us about the future of e-commerce and how the industry is changing for startups.
Check out the video above for more!
Once a upon a time, Microsoft saw fit to put together a YouTube app for Windows Phone and it was actually pretty great — it let users download videos straight from the app and there was nary an ad to be found. To absolutely no one’s surprise, Google wasn’t too pleased: after all, the features that made the app so appealing didn’t exactly jibe with YouTube’s terms of service, and the search giant demanded the offending app be removed.
Well, after a bit of back and forth (and a conciliatory update), it seems the two companies have finally come to an agreement. Microsoft and YouTube released a statement today affirming that the two companies will work together on crafting yet another YouTube app for Windows Phone that doesn’t fly in the face of Google’s and YouTube’s rules.
Here’s the (admittedly brief) statement in full:
Microsoft and YouTube are working together to update the new YouTube for Windows Phone app to enable compliance with YouTube’s API terms of service, including enabling ads, in the coming weeks. Microsoft will replace the existing YouTube app in Windows Phone Store with the previous version during this time.
So there you have it. Frankly, the news doesn’t come as much of a shock — Microsoft was seemingly caught off-guard when Google’s ire first became known and was willing to make things right by adding those ads should Google give the company access to “the necessary APIs.” Then again, a Google representative points out things like YouTube’s the iFrame API have been open to the masses for a while now, so it’s unclear why Microsoft didn’t just go that route in the first place. While it’s refreshing to see these two work out their differences here for once (mostly because Microsoft has been poking at Google with its Scroogled campaign for months now), the real loser here is the consumer.
In just a few weeks a new, ad-laden version of the app will trickle into the Windows Marketplace and Windows Phone users who have downloaded the app will soon find themselves faced with the prospect of embracing a much different YouTube experience. Granted, it’s only one app that’s being bowdlerized, but Windows Phone has been making significant strides when it comes to app quality lately and it’s a bummer to see such a prominent app lose its charm.
In the event you’re a Windows Phone user who hasn’t yet updated your YouTube app to the latest version, you may want to wait before taking the plunge. Microsoft recently pushed a tweaked version of the app into the Windows Marketplace that removed the ability to download videos on the fly, though you still won’t be subjected to in-stream ads.
Gillmor Gang – Robert Scoble, Kevin Marks, John Taschek, Keith Teare, and Steve Gillmor. Recording for today has concluded.