In this week’s industry news wrap up: Gmail and AIM join forces, Google will roll out “Social Search”, Facebook drops some restrictions on promotions, Bre.ad brings “ad” to URL shorteners.
Gmail and AIM
Google and AIM have combined instant messaging efforts making it possible to instant message both AIM and Google Talk users no matter which system you’re logged into. In the past, users had to log into their AIM account separately on the Google Talk interface, but AIM users couldn’t message Google Talk accounts and vice versa. Combining the two platforms certainly will make life easier for the tens of millions of AIM and Google Talk users as well as stave off some competition. Their stiffest competition will be the Facebook Chat service, which is becoming very popular, and Skype with more than 500 million users.
Google Social Search
Despite controversy behind it’s “Social Search” product, Google will roll out the feature in 19 more languages next week. Social Search is a feature that combines regular search results with public data created by a user’s friends’ social media activities (one must be signed into their Google account to use the feature). Social Search was recently a subject of controversy when Facebook, who hired a PR company to put negative stories about the feature in the press claiming that Google’s practices raise “serious privacy concerns”.
Facebook Lifts Some Restrictions on Promotions
Facebook has lifted prior restrictions on promotions, which has opened the door to users interacting with product pages and promotions like tobacco, alcohol, dairy, prescription drugs, firearms, gasoline, and gambling. An Inside Facebook post said that the change could mean previously restricted industries will start putting more dollars into Facebook rather than TV and print. Also, any promotion must now be administered via an app canvas page or in a tab on the brand page. New limits on Facebook intellectual property are another addition to the new promotion guidelines, which release Facebook from any liability tied to a promotion.
Bre.ad: New URL Shortener on The Block
Watch out, bit.ly, there’s a new URL shortener on the block. At its core Bre.ad is a URL shortener, but its selling point is helping users promote brands, charities, Twitter accounts, etc., by directing users to pages called “Toasts”. “Toasts” feature a message and banner (created by the Bre.ad user) for 5 seconds before re-directing users to their link.