Google Turns Google+ Content Into +Post Ads

Google debuted a new type of monetization for Google+ with +Post ads, which lets companies turn Google+ posts into display ads. It would let even the most basic status updates be converted into ads, much like how companies use Facebook status updates as advertisements. The big difference is that companies can, with one click, run their status updates across Google’s 2 million site Display Network. In other words, most of the standard Internet browsing space could be fodder for corporate social statuses. It’s a bold, yet simple next step for Google, in its continued efforts to lure companies and users away from Facebook. 

Google Will Use User Reviews & Photos For Ads

Google’s new Terms of Use provide for the company to utilize – and sell – user information from all Google products in order “to offer endorsements” of products. It means that Google can scrape comments and ratings from users and sell them to companies as endorsements for their products, for explicit use in digital advertising. The policy will feature users’ names, comments, and photos beside things they’ve liked, followed, reviewed, or otherwise favorably interacted with. Last time this issue surfaced, users balked at the practice, and Instagram and Facebook were sued for trying to do it. Will Google face the same level of scrutiny? Only time will tell.

Google Launches Chromecast

Google finally entered the streaming fray with a thumb-drive-sized product called Chromecast that promises to deliver digital content to your TV with unprecedented ease. Chromecast is a step above other streaming devices in multiple facets: it’s size makes it simple to transport, Google says that the interface is as simple as plug-and-play over any WiFi network, and it’s only $35 – cheaper than any other similar option on the market (like Roku, Boxee, Xbox, or Apple TV). Chromecast also provides for phone integration, but it’s an open interface; it won’t prevent different makes and models from connecting to the HDTV. It has native YouTube, Google Play, and Netflix apps, but you can also watch video from any streaming device you want. The real kicker, though, is the ability to open new Chrome browser tabs on the TV; there’s finally a way to stream content on an HDTV in the same way as users are used to streaming content on their laptops. So although it’s not quite as sexy as Google promises – you do have to charge the device with a cord that takes away from the sleek aesthetic – at a $35 price point, there will be plenty of willing guinea pigs.  

Google Helps Advertisers Make Viral YouTube Videos

Google announced that its video service is launching a pilot program designed to educate advertisers on their YouTube content strategies – not unlike what they’ve been doing through Next Lab for many years. The new program, though, is for brands only, and is an extension of the Brand Labs service, which was built to educate advertisers on YouTube content strategies. The goal of the program is to help brands create engaging content, independent of YouTube’s programming efforts. According to those familiar with their plans, Google even wants to go as far as to utilize its production studios in LA and the UK. The program will start in September at YouTube Space in Los Angeles. 

Google Looks To Buy Waze

According to the Israeli business publication Globes, Google will acquire the Ra’anana-based Waze for $1.3 Billion in the near future. If the deal does go through, it will knock a major mapping-data resource out of the game, as Waze’s socially oriented data-collection means that they have a social map that is unrivaled – in fact, Apple Maps used Waze when it discontinued Google Maps data in the Maps app. It seems likely that Waze will remain independent, much like Google’s 2010 acquisition ITA Software. By the same token, it seems reasonable to assume that the social functions of Waze’s app will be included in Google’s social networks, and will increase the accuracy and robustness of Google’s existing traffic-reporting systems. Either way, Apple and Facebook will certainly not have access to the data, which might have been the point of the acquisition in the first place. 

Smartwatch Race Heats Up

Today LG has officially joined Samsung in the race to create a functional, practical smartwatch. Of course Apple has been rumored to be developing their own watch – but they haven’t confirmed anything – and now according to the Financial Times, Google has also begun development on a smartwatch, again unofficially. Sony has already shipped their own, and Kickstarter darling Pebble is already very successful in their own right. The takeaway? In due time, you won’t want for smartwatch choice, if these come to pass. It’s no longer a matter of if; it’s a matter of when, and how prepared you are for the watch market’s coming of age.