Ever heard the expression,” if you can’t beat them, join them”? It turns out this is an attitude shared by the executives over at Sensis, the advertising and directories arm of Australia’s largest telecommunications company Telstra. Starting in Q1 2009, all of the Sensis business listings will be incorporated into Google’s mapping service. Google will then be implemented to power the native search and mapping functionality on the site. Sensis’s decision has been widely criticized as an admission that could not compete with Google, but I would argue it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Many larger and deeper pocketed rivals have attempted to duplicate Google’s success over the years with arguably little to no lasting success. Yahoo and Live search aside anyone else remember Cuil?
The announcement was made at Google’s headquarters and Sensis CEO Bruce Akhurst said the deal would allow them to focus on their yellow pages business listings. Both parties have openly denied that any talks are taking place with regards to a merger, and according to Sensis the deal is only intended as a means to share revenue. Neither party is revealing any specifics as to the terms or financial agreements, but presumably Sensis determined it was the best way to save market share. According to Nielsen NetRatings, Google Maps serves just over 2.5 million Australian visitors, with a mere 1.2 million using the Sensis Wherels service. Even more dramatic are the search numbers with 9.3 million Australians using Google, and only 184,000 users choosing Sensis.
Another search engine bites the dust, can anyone take on Google? Hit the jump and let us know what you think.
Just when we thought search couldn’t get any better, Evin Levey product manager at Google has blogged about a new feature that could have a dramatic impact on your search results. Scanned documents have been appearing in Google’s search results for quite some time now, but for the most part they were usually weren’t at the top your list regardless of how relevant they may have been. The reason for this is simple; when the search engine runs into an Adobe PDF file that was scanned as an image; it wasn’t able to read the contents other then what was contained within the meta tag. The article may well have been the definitive source on the topic for which you were searching, but until now they had no way of knowing what was in the document or sorting out key words in any type of automated fashion. On Thursday this all changed and it appears the search engine has successfully implemented a form of optical character recognition that can index the text for easy searching. This adds significant power to Google’s ability to catalog things such as books which are commonly achieved as images in PDF format.
Since millions of books are available as creative commons and scanning projects have been actively publishing these works to the web, the ability to search and find results will unlock countless additional sources of information. Care to try out some examples of the new feature?
We reported two weeks ago that the Yahoo-Google search advertising partnership was facing some serious challenges in its discussions with the Justice Department and, sure enough, it looks like the two search giants may decide to give up on the deal. The Wall Street Journal has reported that inside sources said that Google and Yahoo may soon announce their decision to drop the deal, after failing to reach an agreement with the Justice Department.
Nothing’s set in stone yet, though, and both companies official positions are still that negotiations are ongoing. Yahoo’s spokesman said “We believe strongly that this agreement will strengthen Yahoo’s competitive position in online advertising.” Google’s spokesman said in statement that “We are confident that the arrangement is beneficial to competition, but we are not going to discuss the details of the process.”
What will it mean for the oft-courted Yahoo if this deal falls through? Hit the jump and tell us what you think.
It can be kind of hard to get excited over advances in advertising technology, but this new video from RealFiction is enough to get us interested. It shows off the company’s new holographic display, called the Dreamoc, which combines physical and virtual elements to create a pretty compelling effect.
The video shows a cell phone placed inside the display’s pyramidal glass case, with a rotating hologram “emerging” from the devices display. It’s a snazzy effect, and definitely worth a watch.
There’s no word on how much the display will cost, or how widely available it will be, so it’s too soon to say whether the Dreamoc’s going to be just a toy for the most upscale retailers or if you’ll see one in your neighborhood GameStop. Either way, it’s always good to see advances in the commercial application of 3D imagery. Hopefully it won’t be too long before this sort of technology becomes practical for consumer displays.
Being a blight upon the 99.8% of the gaming industry that enjoys making money, it's not too surprising that piracy has a place at gaming's Bad Guy table, where maniacal cackles flow freely and glasses are always half-empty. However, when one of PC gaming's great beneficiaries, the PC Gaming Alliance says piracy isn't so bad -- just misunderstood -- well, jaws drop.
That's exactly what happened when we heard about PCGA Pres. Randy Stude's plan to plant a money tree in piracy's apparently fertile soil.
"Let's monetize every one of those pirates, and let's advertise the hell out of them," Stude told Gamasutra.
Fearing that the big cheese had finally snapped, we nearly missed his explanation, wherein he said that such monetization should be "blatant." For instance, he noted, developers could plaster six times the number of in-game ads around unauthenticated versions of a game. The end result: pirates get an "inferior" version of a game, while developers rake in cash from ads.
"Don't throw [pirates] off [of the server], but show an ad every time a new level loads. The [paying customer] gets a billboard, a passive, less-aggressive ad than [pirates] are going to get," Stude added, demonstrably sane.
So those of you who play but don't pay, if Stude's grandiose plan were enacted, would you willfully download Far Cry 2: Viagra Blue Edition, or would you finally change your ways?
Yahoo just can’t seem to catch a break. The search site’s prospects are looking dimmer and dimmer as Yahoo and Google negotiate with the Justice department to try and head off a potential antitrust lawsuit stemming from their proposed advertising partnership. Several compromises are being discussed which would lessen the strategic value of the partnership for Yahoo.
The currently proposed concessions, according to the Wall Street Journal, “include capping the volume of Google ads Yahoo would use, assurances that Yahoo would continue to compete in search ads, and a reporting mechanism to ensure compliance… U.S. officials hope to impose measures that will ensure the prices advertisers must pay don’t rise significantly after the deal.”
According to Silicon Valley Insider, these compromises would leave the already down-in-the-mouth Yahoo in an even weaker position, cutting out much of the benefit they had hoped to gain from the ad partnership. They also suggest that Microsoft’s lobbyists are responsible for the Justice Department’s scrutiny of the deal, writing that “even if [Microsoft] doesn’t buy Yahoo, it gets the quiet pleasure of poking another stick at the carcass of a company that spurned it’s now extraordinarily generous buyout offer.”
If there's one surefire way to piss off Maximum PC readers, its by mixing politics with technology news. But despite the ire that will inevitably ensue (don't worry, we're not telling you who we think you should vote for), sometimes the two sections overlap to where we must risk the torches and pitchforks in order to report what's going on.
In this case, the real subject matter is in-game advertising. Love it or hate it, in-game ads are here to stay and they might even help decide who our next president is. At the very least, it could become a growing trend. We're talking about political ads preceding an election, and helping to set what could become a precedent, Barack Obama's reaching out to Xbox 360 gamers through virtual billboards. The ads have been spotted in Burnout Paradise, which apparently have been purchased for an undisclosed sum.
"I can confirm that the Obama campaign has paid for in-game advertising in Burnout," Holly Rockwood, directory of corporate communications at Electronic Arts, told Gigaom.com in an email. "Like most television, radio, and print outlets, we accept advertising from credible political candidates."
EA went on to clarify that the ads' subject matter "do not reflect the political policies of EA or the opinions of its development team." But that might not matter if gamers feel that mixing politics with videogames is taking advertising too far.
Do you have a problem with political billboards appearing in games? Hit the jump and give us your take.
Startup company G.ho.st is crying foul over Microsoft's new ad campaign, but not because the commercials suck. Instead, the company claims Microsoft's ads violate the startup's trademark, specifically the phrases "life without walls," "imagine without walls," and "imagine no walls." G.ho.st. CEO Zvi Schreiber has sent a letter to Steve Ballmer requesting that the phrases in question be removed from Microsoft's product lineup, website, marketing materials, and anywhere else the software giant might be using them.
Michael Marinello, a Microsoft spokesman, did acknowledge that Microsoft had received the letter, but said in an email "the allegation is without merit." Not so says Schreiber, who claims that G.ho.st has been using the phrase "no walls" in conjunction with its G.ho.st Virtual Computer software, which Schreiber describes as an alternative to Windows.
Going for the gusto, Schreiber not only wants Microsoft to stop using the above mentioned phrases, but wants Microsoft to amend existing ads clarifying that it has not licensed G.ho.st's technology or trademark, as well as mentioning that they do not use the same "features or benefits of the G.ho.st Virtual Computer." All this on top of wanting Steve Ballmer and Co. to negotiate a "good faith" license for past use.
Ready for the kicker? Not only does G.ho.st not yet officially own the allegedly trademarked phrases, but according to PC World, the company filed an application for the trademarks on the same day it sent Microsoft the ceast and desist letter.