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Vine Is Now a True Video Discovery Website

Today, with the launch of their new vine.co web experience, the Twitter-owned six-second video app has finally become a fully realized video-sharing website.

Vine launched its web presence back in January, but it was stripped down and in no way mimicked the Vine app experience. Users could browse their own home feed and scroll through feeds of specific users. There was an admittedly addictive, yet underwhelming functional TV mode that let users watch videos in sequence. At the time, Vine said that this was just the first step toward a “richer web experience,” and today they’ve delivered on that promise.

“Up until now, the primary way to watch, share and discover Vine videos has been on your phone. We’ve heard from the Vine community that you sometimes want to explore Vine and view videos on your computer too. Today, we’re excited to introduce a brand-new version of vine.co, which adds a bunch of new features that will help you find and discover Vine videos on the web,” says Vine in a blog post.

First off, Vine’s website now has a new search tool that lets you search keywords that will pull up results for people, hashtags, content, and even locations. If you’re looking for Vines about cats, it’s now easier to pull up millions of short videos about cats. Sounds like other video-sharing websites of note.

The Explore page on the web features curated playlists, featured Vine videos, a “popular now” section, trending tags, featured Viners, and more.

Most importantly, however, is the fact that you can do all of this without ever logging in.

It’s this move that makes the new Vine site feel more like a resource for finding videos. Anyone can just go to Vine and search for all public Vine videos. Pretty neat.

This is Vine’s move to go big, and go public. Earlly last month, Vine made a move to go small and private by unveiling private messaging to compete with the likes of Snapchat, WhatsApp, and Instagram.

Go check it out. Caution, it’s now really easy to lose an hour watching dumb Vine videos. You’ve been warned.

Image via Vine.co screenshot

By | May 1st, 2014|New Features, Our Blog|Comments Off on Vine Is Now a True Video Discovery Website

Emojis Now Work on Web Version of Twitter

All you emoji lovers can now sleep sound knowing that your smiley faces and little piles of poop will be able to be seen by those browsing their Twitter timelines on the web.

Before today, mobile Twitter users who included emojis in their tweets were faced with hollow boxes when those tweets were viewed on the web. Now, if you include an emoji in a tweet from your smartphone, web-based Twitter users will see a version of that emoji. It’s retroactive too-all your past emojis will now show up.

You’re still going to have issues when you attempt to embed tweets with emojis, however.

Tweetdeck support for emojis seems to be inconsistent, with some users reporting that they can see them fine and other pissed that they still can’t see the colorful icons.

Emoji away, Twitter users.

By | April 2nd, 2014|Our Blog, Support|Comments Off on Emojis Now Work on Web Version of Twitter

New Local Carousel

Google announced they rolled out their local carousel results on desktops in categories like hotels, dining & nightlife for US English search queries. The ranking factors driving local rank are aligned with the same ones that were driving the old 7 pack result set.

The layout seems to be triggered when there are 5 or more listings. One upside to the new layout is that clicks within the carousel might not fall off quite as quickly as they do with vertical listings, so if you don't rank #1 you might still get plenty of traffic.

The default amount of useful information offered by the new layout is less than the old layout provided, while requiring user interaction with the result set to get the information they want. You get a picture, but the only way the phone number is in the result set is if you click into that result set or conduct a branded query from the start.

If you search for a general query (say "Indian restaurants") and want the phone number of a specific restaurant, you will likely need to click on that restaurant's picture in order to shift the search to that restaurant's branded search result set to pull their phone number & other information into the page. In that way Google is able to better track user engagement & enhance personalization on local search. When people repeatedly click into the same paths from logged in Google user accounts then Google can put weight on the end user behavior.

This multi-click process not only gives Google usage data to refine rankings with, but it also will push advertisers into buying branded AdWords ads.

Where this new result set is a bit of a train wreck for navigational searches is when a brand is fairly generic & aligned with a location as part of the business name. For instance, in Oakland there is a place named San Francisco Pizza. Even if you do that branded search, you still get the carousel & there might also be three AdWords ads above the organic search results.

If that company isn't buying branded AdWords ads, they best hope that their customers have large monitors, don't use Google, or are better than the average searcher at distinguishing between AdWords & organic results.

Some of Google's other verticals may appear above the organic result set too. When searching for downtown Oakland hotels they offer listings of hotels in San Francisco & Berkeley inside the hotel onebox.

Perhaps Google can patch together some new local ad units that work with the carousel to offer local businesses a flat-rate monthly ad product. A lot of advertisers would be interested in testing a subscription product that enabled them to highlight selected user reviews and include other options like ratings & coupons & advertiser control of the image. As the search result set becomes the destination some of Google's ad products can become much more like Yelp's.

In the short term the new layout is likely a boon for Yelp & some other local directory plays. Whatever segment of the search audience that dislike's the new carousel will likely be shunted into many of these other local directories.

In the longrun some of these local directories will be the equivalent of MapQuest. As Google gains confidence they will make their listings richer & have more confidence in entirely displacing the result set. The following search isn't a local one, but is a good example of where we may be headed. Even though the search is set to "web" results (rather than "video" results) the first 9 listings are from YouTube.

Update: In addition to the alarming rise of further result displacement, the 2-step clickthrough process means that local businesses will lose even more keyword referral data, as many of the generic queries are replaced by their branded keywords in analytics data.

Categories: google

By | June 24th, 2013|Our Blog, Support|Comments Off on New Local Carousel

Instagram Finally Has a True Web Presence, Minus Photo Uploads

After taking baby steps for the past year, Instagram has finally realized its potential as a real website. The company has just launched web feeds for all users, which means that interacting with Instagram on the web produces nearly the same experience as interacting with Instagram on the mobile app.

Almost. But we’ll get back to that.

The Facebook-owned photo-sharing social network has been around for over two years and amassed over 90 million monthly active users. And today marks the first time that users can browse their feeds on the web.

Instagram, who has admittedly thrown all of their focus into mobile, took the first step into building a passable web presence last June when they launched comments and likes on individual photo pages on the web. Before that, viewing an Instagram photo via a link on a Twitter or Facebook post was simply that – viewing the photo. That was the only web presence that Instagram maintained. Adding comments and likes to the web photo pages allowed users to interact with the network on a very basic level.

Then, in November, Instagram launched profiles on the web, giving users the ability to browse individual users’ photos. Once again, a baby step toward a true web presence.

Today, Instagram on the web gets a news feed – one that mimics the mobile experience.

“Your Instagram Feed on the web functions much like it does on your mobile phone. You can browse through the latest photos of people whom you follow with updates as people post new photos. Like photos by double clicking on them or pressing the like button. Or, engage in a conversation around a photo with inline commenting. Browse through pages of the most recent images to keep up on what’s happening with the people you follow in realtime. And shrink your browser down to a single column for your feed to look more like your mobile feed. Simply put, we’ve brought a simple, powerful, and beautiful Instagram browsing experience to the web,” says Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom.

You can click on @users to view their profiles. It doesn’t look like hashtags are clickable yet – but other than that everything else feels like the mobile app.

As it stands, the web experience is 75% or so of the mobile experience. The only thing still missing is the ability to upload and tool photos from the web. As much as you may want that ability, you shouldn’t hold your breath. According to Instagram, that wouldn’t really fit the company’s overall mission:

“We do not offer the ability to upload from the web as Instagram is about producing photos on the go, in the real world, in realtime. On the other hand, Instagram for the web is focused on making the browsing experience a fast, simple and enjoyable one,” says Systrom.

Even so, Instagram has finally grown up and they have an actual website to prove it.

By | February 5th, 2013|Our Blog|Comments Off on Instagram Finally Has a True Web Presence, Minus Photo Uploads