Weekly Digital News Roundup: July 26-30
Google Helpouts Could Give Google A Big Ecommerce Upgrade
- WebProNews reports that Google has been testing a new product called Helpouts with brands like Sears, Weight Watchers, and others, according to TechCrunch. Google’s description is: “Helpouts is a new way to provide real-time help over video chat anytime, anywhere. Turn your skills into a business by offering instant help or scheduled classes.”
- According the report, Helpouts is at least a month away from a public release, and leverages Google’s cloud services to help users engage in real-time commerce. It says the product “will take shape as a marketplace that enables individuals and small and large businesses to buy and sell services via live video.”
- Google has been working steadily to bring more of its various products together in a more unified way. With Helpouts, sellers can reportedly create profiles, offer free and/or paid services, and access tools for payment, scheduling, and reputation management. Of course there are also search and discovery features for consumers. The piece hints that Helpouts would be integrated with other Google products, such as Wallet, and it’s easy to envision it being integrated with Google Shopping, YouTube and Google+, and even Google search.
For Developing World, a Streamlined Facebook
- According to the New York Times, Facebook has been quietly working for more than two years on a project that is vital to expanding its base of 1.1 billion users: getting the social network onto the billions of cheap, simple “feature phones” that have largely disappeared in America and Europe but are still the norm in developing countries like India and Brazil.
- Facebook soon plans to announce the first results of the initiative, which it calls Facebook for Every Phone: More than 100 million people, or roughly one out of eight of its mobile users worldwide, now regularly access the social network from more than 3,000 different models of feature phones, some costing as little as $20.
- Facebook has only just begun to sell ads to these customers, so it makes no money from them yet. But the countries in which the simple phone software is doing the best — India, Indonesia, Mexico, Brazil and Vietnam — are among the fastest-growing markets for use of the Internet and social networks, according to the research firm eMarketer. “In a lot of foreign markets, people think that the Internet is Facebook,” said Clark Fredricksen, a vice president at eMarketer. Those users, Facebook hopes, will become more attractive to advertisers as their incomes grow and they gain broader access to the Web.
LinkedIn Attracts Brands to Homepage With Sponsored Updates
- According to Search Engine Watch, LinkedIn is bringing sponsored updates to its primary news feed, calling it a core feature of the company’s content-marketing strategy as it strives to become a more prominent publishing platform.
- Sponsored Updates are a new ad unit available to marketers and brand managers that run company pages on LinkedIn. Users will begin seeing the ads on desktops, smartphones and tablets alongside the organic posts from people in their network and companies they follow. “With sponsored updates what we are doing basically is giving them a way to go beyond their followers and increase their distribution,” said Gyanda Sachdeva, product manager at LinkedIn. “We expect our members to see more content from these companies, institutions, businesses, and at the same time give our marketers and all these entities a bigger channel to distribute this content and get in front of a professional audience on a mainstream channel like the news feed.”
- More than 3 million active company pages will be able to purchase the ads in either cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-mille (CPM) based pricing by the end of the month. “In the CPC in particular, we don’t charge for social actions. So any virality that happens post that is to the advertiser’s credit,” Sachdeva said.