Google Stunts; that Cozy Brand Feeling

Google changed its homepage today. It was funny, because I didn’t even notice. I rarely go to the Google homepage itself, opting to tab over to my Google search bar in my browser instead. It skips a step and requires less typing. And when I do go to to Google’s homepage, I move through it so fast that I typically miss the magically appearing links and, now, background image.

But I’m glad they changed their homepage. Why not? So what, it’s super commercial. We visit Google’s homepage millions of times per day. We’ve become so familiar with the Google homepage that it should be something we can customize. I wish there were more Gmail themes for me to choose from, because that’s what I spend the majority of my day looking at.

And in Google’s effort to become a more implanted brand with the whole of our culture, the company wraps its services in the shrouds of mainstream appeal. They took a smart cue from Microsoft’s Bing homepage, which has been gaining traction in its fight for Google-dominated search ground. With Google launching an insane amount of products to create its web of consumer access, we see another step with Google’s web-turned-desktop motif. Anyway, Microsoft’s already had experience with the whole desktop thing.

So as I was saying, I’m glad Google has custom background settings now. They’re far more pleasant to look at, and they even hypnotize us further into Google’s individualized relationship with consumers. Vote on more Google stunts at CNET.


Kristen Nicole’s New Media Resolutions for 2008


I know it’s cliche to blog about your own new year’s resolutions, on your own website, but I’m learning to embrace the world of cliches in an effort to breed more cynicism. So here goes.

Kristen Nicole’s New Year’s Resolutions for 2008:

Blog on my own website. Perhaps you haven’t noticed, but this is my first entry on my website. Could anything be more cliche fitting than to resolve to keep my website updated? I think not. And that’s why this tops my resolutions for the year.

Hire a college student to organize my the images saved on my hardrives. Yes, that’s hardrives in the plural sense of the word, and I use the word in this manner because I utilize multiple computers for work on any given day. This indicates that this lucky college student may earn some extra cash by first centralizing and cross-populating the images I have saved across all these computers. From there, the images need to be organized.

If you read Mashable, you’ll notice that we use a good amount of images, which typically consist of company logos and screen shots. The screen shots aren’t so important for saving later on, but the logos are. One of the secrets to my speedy blogging success has been a deep pool of ready-made logos for use on Mashable posts, having already been formatted to Pete’s specifications. When you begin using images within the body of the text, there are other formatting requirements that need to be accounted for as well. So when it comes to posting a blog entry with logos and images, better organization will make me more efficient overall.

Use social networking to my advantage. I write about social networking for a living, and rarely get to use it for what it’s worth–a communication tool amongst friends. I’m like that hair dresser that has a bad hair do because she’s so busy doing everyone else’s hair. As with my own website, updates just aren’t frequent enough, and with the constant new experiences and life journeys that we have, I’m anxious to capture it all using online social networks.

cbs-daytime.pngCreate a custom RSS Feed for my favorite soap operas on CBS. First, let me tell you the problem with classic soap operas on CBS. They don’t have an RSS feed for their daily updates. I don’t have time to watch soap operas on TV, and they’re far more engaging when you can just read an entire week at once, instead of being dragged along on an episodic basis. And while CBS finally began offering online video replays a couple of months ago, there’s still no easy way for me to get the content from the daily updates without going to the site, and experiencing some very poor organization and navigation.From Strata to Dapper, there are a ton of options out there to help bridge the gap between old and new media, and I’ll be using one of these tools to just go ahead and make my own new media version of an old media service. It’s bad enough CBS hasn’t been as active as NBC, ABC, FOX and Viacom for its online efforts, so my particular resolution is merely a microcosm of all the things that are wrong with old media on the web.

Keep a tab open at all times for my Google calendar. I’m an external person, and by that I mean that I’ll pay attention to things that are right in front of my face. This goes for just about everything, from gadgets to food. Put a mobile phone in front of me and I’ll download Zuma, play for an hour and beat your high score. Put food in front of my face, and I’ll start snacking. Why not apply this to my daily work life? Now I’ll see that time block I “penciled” in for updating all my own stuff. Can you electronically pencil things into a web-based calendar tool?


Support the striking writers’ plans for Internet distribution…from afar. This is mostly for selfish reasons–I really miss good shows like Heroes. And I’m tired of the writers’ strike. A few writers have taken measures to put more control into their hands by carving out their own niche in the online world. That’s all fine and dandy, but I know from personal experience what hard work it is. I also see, on a very daily basis, the struggles, toils and woes of content creators trying to get attention on the web. Not just the regular Joes out there, but even the content creators with connections, like Will Ferrell.

And while I know I won’t get any Hero-sized hits on the web right away, I do think the furthered exploration of Internet distribution is a necessary direction growth for the spurred integration of traditional media concepts into the web, as well as the resolution of all this writers’ strike crap. It’s a short-term fix that will lead to better television content by the end of the year, along with better use of alternative channels for content delivery.

Short-term because the writers hoping for online success are dealing with an entirely new structure than what traditional media has always offered. That’s typically a good thing for the type of content you’ll get online (less regulated), but this all eventually “rights itself” and we’ll end up with more regulations for olnine content in the end (booo). At any rate, my one piece of advice for writers heading online: provide text updates of your content via RSS feeds, even if you’re not making a soap opera.

Return to this blog post in exactly 1 year and get a cheap update post out of it. The good thing about doing these “milestone” articles is that you’ve got a shoe-in for follow-up posts a year later. You get to laugh at yourself for saying all those stupid things last year, and everyone else gets to laugh at you too. When you think about it, this really is the best model for a recycling economy when it comes to blogging content. 😉