SEO For Wii: Search Engine Optimization Video Game To Hit Shelves

In case your love of keyword analysis and spreadsheeted statistics didn’t make you nerdy enough, now you can turn your SEO career into a high scoring hobby thanks to Nintendo and Google. Yes, that’s right, as Mashable reported today, the folks behind the Wii have partnered with the folks behind everything else on the web to create a video game out of guessing search result rankings. So far, it looks like it will only be available in Japan.

But, here’s hoping we get to see it on US shelves some day. After all, what could be more fun after a long day of geeking out over google results at work than coming home to your Wii and geeking out over google results in game form? On second thought, maybe it’s best if we don’t answer that. . .


Easter Egg Hunt: Google Edition

Who doesn’t love an Easter egg? And no, I’m not talking about the kind you ruin your heirloom kitchen table painting. I’m talking about the type of easter egg that quickens the pulses of nerds from 4chan to Foursquare. The kind of easter egg that keeps entire forums afloat. The kind of easter egg that makes a developer’s day.

Yup, I’m talking about those quirky, crazy coding tricks that can be unlocked by doing certain things on certain sites. From naked chicks in Grand Theft Auto to the famous Facebook lens flare trick, there are more easter eggs on the web than there are in the seasonal aisle at your local CVS right now. So why do devs do it? Well, because it’s fun. And when you spend all day staring at code, you take your fun where you can get it. And then you hide that fun so that only the coolest of your core users can find it. Unless of course, you happen to be Google. In which case, your easter eggs are easier to spot than Lady Gaga’s phantom phallus. Especially when Mashable decides to fill a slow Saturday by publishing 5 of them for all the tech world to see.

Of course, that doesn’t make them any less fun to play with. Especially if you – like me – have some time to kill on your own slow Saturday. After all, the new Real Housewives episode doesn’t hit the rerun airwaves for at least another 30 minutes. . .

What’s Google Buzz & Why Should You Use It?


See this post in its original home at the official Girls in Tech blog

Since its launch in February, Google Buzz has dominated headlines from the blogosphere to the twittersphere, and every social media sphere in between. From people decrying it as yet another nail in the coffin of personal privacy to people applauding it as a bold step forward for communication and collaboration, Buzz has certainly lived up to its name – at least in terms of all the attention its gotten in the past month.

So what is Buzz? Well, according to Google itself “Google Buzz lets you share updates, photos, links, and pretty much anything else you’d like with your Gmail contacts; it’s an easy way to follow your friends, too. When you click Buzz in your Gmail account, you’ll see the stream of posts from people you’re following, and a box for you to post your updates.” So basically, Buzz is a way for you to post items that are shared with your Gmail contacts, and people who follow you on the service. Sort of like a Facebook status update for your Gmail.

Of course, like any good web product, there’s a lot more to it than just the elevator pitch. Buzz is already proving to be a valuable tool for soliciting feedback on a project, gathering opinions on a popular topic and finding targeted information that’s relevant to you. Which, of course, makes it a social media marketer’s wet dream, and has advertisers salivating over the possibility that Google may now have yet another place to distribute its patented brand of extremely targeted ads.

But, if you’re not looking to solicit feedback from your friends or sell something to your followers, why should you use Buzz? Well, the answer lies in that whole targeted information thing. That’s right, Buzz is yet another stream of information you can tap into to find out what’s trending and what your friends are talking about. But, because it maps back to your Gmail contacts, the theory is that it’s even more targeted than Twitter, more focused than Facebook and more interesting than random RSS feeds. The idea is that if you’re subscribing to people you already communicate with regularly via email, you will be more interested in what those people have to say than what Followed #4,238 on Twitter is talking about. And, of course, there are all those nifty Google algorithms to help really steer your Buzz stream.

I’ve been using it for a few weeks now, and I have to say my feelings are mixed. Mostly because I haven’t yet been able to really slot Buzz into my daily social media habits. Between Twitter, Facebook, Google Reader, Reddit, Delicious, Stumble and the occasional email update from my mom, I’m pretty well situated when it comes to keeping abreast of the news and information I care about. So far, Buzz hasn’t yet evolved from a fun distraction into a daily information addiction the way those other services have. That said, now that there’s a Buzz iPhone app, I might finally be able to find a way to fit that fun new distraction into my daily routine. If only so I can make more “I just got so buzzed” puns on Twitter.

iPhone Addiction: Mums the Word

If you ask any of my family or friends, they’ll tell you that I definitely have a favorite accessory. An accessory that also just so happens to be the one gadget that’s been pretty much glued to my palm since the day I first picked it out in the apple store.

It’s my iPhone. And, as much as I complain about it, I know that at the end of the day, I only have one person to blame for my full-blown iPhone addiction. And it sure ain’t Steve Jobs.

That’s why I so cherish those moments in life that help prove the practicality of having a smartphone permanently fused to my palm. And that is why I’m enjoying my mums so much.

You see, two weeks ago, I was standing in the flower aisle at my local Trader Joes trying to figure out which bouquet to buy. I love having fresh flowers in my house but I hate spending so much money on something that just dies. It hasn’t been an issue in a few years because I haven’t been able to afford extras like fresh flowers. Even now that I can, I still want to make the most of my money at the market.

So there I was, standing in the flower aisle, staring like an idiot at all these beautiful bouqets. Unlike the TJs I normally go to, this one didn’t have little signs saying how long each arrangement could be expected to last.

I was at a total dumbfounded loss. Until my phone buzzed, delivering a foursquare update and a reminder of its existence with one simple vibration. And, two clicks of my keyboard and one google search later, I had my answer. Apparently, mums WERE the word. Gorgeous yellow ones on sale for $4.99 to be exact.

Two weeks later, and the big, bright, beautiful bouqet is as big, bright and beautiful as it was the day I bought it. Google was right. And once again, my phone was handy in a totally practical way. Not that being able to play Oregon Trail while at a bar isn’t practical, but I’m not entirely sure it would stand up as a strong case for my app addiction at the local ATT anonymous meeting. Although I could always argue that the dysentery made me do it…

Marissa Mayer: Google Gets A Blushing Bride

It’s no secret that I idolize Marissa Mayer. She’s arguably the web’s most powerful product manager, and she’s personally responsible for seeing some of the most influential innovations of the past decade into fruition. It’s easy to admire her on professional merits alone. Her accomplishments at Google are certainly enough to garner role model status in and of themselves.

But that’s not why I idolize her. I adolize her for her cupcake recipe database, for her love of art and for her killer shoe collection. I idolize her because she supposedly works 8am to 3am, and she’s totally unapologetic about that claim. I idolize her because she just announced her wedding on Twitter, and she’s totally unapologetic about that claim too.

It’s no wonder she inspired so much Valleywag vitriol. It’s easy to hate on Mayer – to call her a strident, striving social climber who only got where she is because she’s attractive  or cunning, or a combination of the two. Particularly when you’re one of the many men in this boys’ club of a business who aren’t used to spending so much time with women. Or at least not with women who aren’t rocking the same ironic Star Trek tees you are.

Don’t get me wrong. I get it. After all, the woman is a contradiction in terms – ironic for the chick who championed simple search at google, but it’s true. She’s a smart, savvy engineer with the wardrobe of a celebrity and the tastes of a socialite. Not exactly the dev next door. Some people love her for that. Some people hate her for it. Either way, most people in the web world have an opinion on Ms. Mayer.

As for me, all of the qualities that make Mayer such a complicated contradiction are the same qualities that make her an inspiration for me. And the fact that this intelligent, successful woman landed an intelligent successful man and got to wear Naeem Khan down the aisle almost makes her like my very own social media Cinderella – proving once and for all that fairy tales can come true. Or at least that good PR people can make it sound that way.

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