Category Archives: google

Google Voice now with Spam Protection

I am a big Google Voice fan, in fact I have been using the service since before the Google acquisition when it was known as GrandCentral.  I do have a few complaints with the service one of which is the occasional (and sometimes not so occasional) spam call or text. 

I logged in to my account in a browser this afternoon and was greeted with this


You better believe I opted in.

Google Voice Help: Global Spam Filtering

What Happens When you Google Search “search”


Google Search "search"

I wonder how long until someone at Google fixes this.

The Google +1 button anyone else confused?


So I am confused about the +1 button, sure I added it to my blog, and one or two of you have even clicked on it.  I also joined Google+ where the +1 button is also available on every post.  Yet there seems to be no connection between the +1 button on a site, and the +1 button in Google+

Here is Google’s explanation of the +1 Button

Google +1 Button

While many refer to the +1 button as Google’s answer to the Facebook ‘Like’ Button they are really not the same at all.  If you have been following me for some time now you know I am not a fan of the ‘Like’ button, I will occasionally like a status or photo on Facebook, but never use the button on external sites (feel free to like my blog though Smile) but I digress. 

The +1 button on web sites is used to deliver better google search results, though I am still not sure how to see a persons +1s.  In Google+ people are using the +1 button (which is different then the share button) and you see the count incremented on a post. 

Here is the catch though.  First when I look at my profile to see my +1s I only see sites that I used the +1 button on, not items I +1 in Google+ itself (confused yet?).


Second if I post one of my blog entries in Google+ and other people +1 it, that is not reflected back on my site in the +1 counter.  Compare this to the Tweet button which counts tweets to that post regardless if the button is used or not.

So I ask you what exactly is the +1 button supposed to do, and why is there seemingly no tie whatsoever between the +1 button in Google+, and the +1 button on a site?

Google Plus: Is an API a good or bad idea?

A couple of weeks later and Google+ is still going strong.  Sure it is still in the early adopter phase, and the recent release of the iOS app should drive more iPhone owners to give it a try.  The one missing piece is the API, if you want to post to Google+ the only way to do it is manually.  Yes there are browser extensions popping up allowing cross posting between other social networks primarily Twitter, and Facebook, but there is no way to cross post from an application (Tweetdecks support of Twitter and Facebook for example)

I have previously stated that I don’t think Google+ can pull people away from the networks they use today until cross posting is possible making it easier to transition from one to the other.  What about auto-postings using services like or Twitterfeed that many (including myself) use to automate tweets from blogs.  What about other services like Posterous, Tumblr, etc.. that people use today to automatically post content to Facebook, Twitter and other networks.  An API for Google+ would enable people to post to Google+ the same as they do to Twitter and Facebook.

Over the last couple of days I think I changed my mind though, part of me now believes the worst thing Google+ can do is open up an API and the floodgates to all kinds of automated postings.  Maybe just maybe we would be better served only seeing the items that each person deems worthy to actually take the time and post.  So far in my experience posts on Google+ are getting more response then tweets or Facebook posts.  I attribute part of this to it still be in the shiny new toy people are kicking the tires on, partially to the smaller circles people have as they are still building their network on Google+, but part of it has to be the lack of automatic postings.  Every post you read on Google+ was manually added by a real person (yet another difference on Google+).

I am still not convinced about the Circles sharing model, and I am sure that Facebook, Twitter,and others will respond with their own design changes adding features that can be found in Google+, but I am starting to think the API might do more harm than good to Google+.  What do you think?

The Fallacy of Circles

As a follow on to my thoughts on creating and managing circles earlier in the week, as I continue to play with Google+ I find that the greater issue is not the time and effort to manage the lists, but rather the false sense of security they provide.

This morning for the first time I decided to Share someone elses post on Google+, the original post looked like this


This post originated with a person not in my stream, when I view their Profile I see other posts but not the one that was Shared by a person who is in my circle, which was shared with a Limited group of people.  I didn’t notice the Limited  on the screen until I went to Share the post when I was prompted with this:


This is very similar to when I wrote about protected Twitter accounts, sure you can protect your account, but any follower you approve can subsequently retweet or share your tweets with others.

I think Circles are going to lull people in to a false sense of security that when they share with a Circle it will stay within that circle only.  A simple pop up warning isn’t going to do it.  I am all for sharing just make sure you understand who you are sharing what information with, and what potential path that information may travel.

Running in Circles

Over the weekend I finally took some time to check out Google+, I haven’t played with all the features yet, and I am yet to be convinced that it will replace Facebook and Twitter where most of my sharing takes place today, but I am keeping an open mind, and it certainly has some nice features. If you have an Android phone be sure to check out the Google+ App for Android.

I am not going to write a full review of Google+ there are enough of them out there already, but I am going to talk about the Circles feature.

The thing is, I hate maintaining lists, which is one of the reasons why my music player of choice is my second generation iPod shuffle.  There are many things I like about the shuffle, but mostly it’s the fact that I don’t have to maintain playlists, I just load it up and go, it does the rest of the work for me.  Facebook has Friend Lists which are similar to circles, but except for a couple of lists I use to make sure I don’t miss certain updates I have never taken the time to create and manage lists.  Back to circles, nice idea, but am I really going to spend the time creating and managing them? Probably not.

Beyond simply creating and managing lists, or circles (I do manage a couple of Twitter lists but they are low maintenance) there is another question.  Do I really feel secure using a list or circle to decide who can see what post on my social networks? First I am putting a lot of confidence in Google or Facebook’s privacy and security controls to post something and expect that only a certain few will see it.  Second there is the inevitable screw up that will happen when I post something to the wrong circle, and if you are saying “that won’t happen to me” be honest who hasn’t sent a direct message as a tweet by accident?

So how about you? Will you use Google+? If yes will you manage your circles and share differently with different circles or will you be like me, one circle fits all?

No more free lunch?

Received this in my Inbox yesterday from Google


Free accounts previously had a limit of 50 users, as of May 10th this is being reduced to 10. While it is nice of them to grandfather in existing accounts, I think this is the end of free lunch from Google.  Have they reached enough domains using their service that they now realize they need to charge for it? What’s next? Increase in fees for Google Apps for Business? Charging for Education users?

Time will tell, but it looks like the free first hit hooked enough people for Google to begin limiting their free offerings, and probably increase the costs of their paid services.

Google Readers Hidden Features

Last night I decided to clean up my feed reader a little, enough people asked about finding the “inactive feeds” view in Google Reader that I figured I would put it here. First I like Google Reader it has a nice clean interface, is available from any computer, and presents my feeds to me in a way that I can process them quickly easily finding the items I want to read and ignore the rest.  There are also many apps that synchronize with google reader for mobile or offline reading.  For me it is Feedler on iOS, and NewsRob on Android which allow me to keep up when I am not in front of my computer.  I also used the starred items feature to mark stuff to read later, and I also share items in Google Reader and follow other people who share. Now back to the topic at hand, cleaning up feeds that no longer provide content.   In Google Reader on the upper left hand side look for the “Trends Link” 11-5-2010 7-04-28 AM Where you can find out all kinds of interesting things like this 11-5-2010 7-05-49 AM You can also see the statistics for each feed you subscribe to, I look at this sometimes and when I see I am reading 1% of a particular feeds posts I can easily determine it is clutter and unsubscribe.  (As a side note, the only item in my reader which is consistently at 100% of items read is the Daily Dilbert Feed). Finally on the right side you have your Subscription Trends view where the second tab will show you your inactive feeds (I also like the obscure feed view) and allow you to unsubscribe using the trash can 11-5-2010 7-06-33 AM Before anyone asks yes I know about Feedly I have tried it a few times, I find that I can get through my feeds more efficiently in Google Reader, but if you have not looked at Feedly it integrates with Google Reader and is worth a look Google Reader is a lot more then just a feed reader, if you are using it already take a little time to explore some of it’s social features, and other tools that can help you find the information you are looking for.  You can follow my Google Reader Shared items here.