Bug Bytes is a weekly roundup of the Web’s best links, blog posts, and news articles related to web design, application development, and online marketing. Continue the conversation and share your thoughts on these stories in the comments below – we’d love to hear your own insights!
Google search suggestions first became available in 2004 as an ‘experimental’ feature, and have since become an important part of the search ecosystem. While most people don’t consider the factors involved, Autocomplete lends an interesting perspective to SEO and search volume. This article by Search Engine Land explains how Google’s search ‘predictions’ work, the factors involved, and how Google ranks them.
Insights: By being aware of the factors at play in Google Instant’s autocomplete feature, marketers can evaluate search terms from the user’s point of view. Because search volume is an important factor in search engine optimization, autocomplete can help determine how valuable a prospective keyword is. If nobody searches for a particular query, it may not be the most valuable keyword target. Google Instant’s autocomplete gives search marketers a fresh perspective on keyword research; and by looking at searches from the user’s point of view, marketers are given an additional tool for optimization.
Late last year, Google began a Chrome OS pilot program allowing developers and users to test-drive netbooks loaded with the web-based operating system. Also known as ‘chromebooks’, the pilot program was an experiment to fix bugs, get user feedback, and improve the overall experience of the netbook. ‘Chromebooks’ will be available to the public later this year; however, Google appears to be prepping the operating system for tablet devices as well.
Insights: Source code from Chrome OS indicates that Google is working to make its web-based operating system tablet-friendly. While some may see this as cannibalizing potential Android tablet market share, it makes the operating system more versatile and gives hardware developers another platform option when bringing tablet devices to market. Chrome’s own ‘Web App’ store features applications developed for touch devices, providing the operating system a greater opportunity for traction with web application developers designing for touch devices, such as iPhones, iPads or Android tablets.
Mashable’s article compares the pros and cons between open source and closed source systems. Open source systems, such as WordPress and Drupal, have a large network of developers working on the software, and plenty of individuals making sure that the code is clean and well documented. However, at times, closed source systems provide better security and support, while offering the same flexibility as open sourced systems.
Insights: Each content management system has its pros and cons, so it is important that clients are paired with a solution that fits their individual needs. While one client may need a blog built natively into their site, another client may need a content management system to run a corporate intranet. Additionally, some content management systems are made especially for e-commerce, and make entering product details simple and easy. Depending on the business needs of the client, the right content management system can vastly improve efficiency and decrease management time.
Recent rumors suggest that Twitter might introduce pages for brands and businesses. This move follows Foursquare’s ‘Pages Gallery’ launch, and aligns closely with Facebook Pages. The idea behind Twitter pages is to give brands their own space on Twitter, and allow businesses to deliver additional content beyond a stream of 140-character messages. Not only will optimization value be garnered, additional opportunities for creating valuable customer interest can be expected.
Insights: Twitter may be the second most popular social networking site, but its count of unique users still pales in comparison to Facebook’s, which claims 600 million users globally. For Twitter to compete, it needs to provide equivalent features for businesses and brands, which currently generate revenue for the site through ‘Promoted Tweets’ and ‘Promoted Trends’.
Brands with a Twitter presence often point customers to a Twitter feed, which doesn’t always position the brand in the right manner. Giving brands a new way to communicate with audiences could invite a shift in how companies utilize the short messaging service, fostering more conversations between brands and potential customers.
Bing recently released an iPad-specific app featuring a wealth of aggregated content aimed at ‘killing’ Google’s equivalent mobile app. Users can search by voice, as well as access news, weather, shopping, maps, travel info, movies, video, images and ‘new trends’ all within the app. The app is highly intuitive, and allows users to switch between in-app content and the full web seamlessly.
Insights: Google’s iPad application does a great job of integrating cloud-based Google products, such as Gmail, Calendar, and Contacts; however, tools beyond these basic search functions are still somewhat limited. By creating a feature-filled, content aggregating iPad app, Bing may be able to arouse more confidence in its search product by gently encouraging its app users to search via Bing. This could translate directly to increased advertising revenue and sustained gains in market share – something Bing has been unable to achieve, despite countless attempts.