theEweekly Wrap: endorsements, adjustments and patents
|Pay Per Celeb||Searchers will soon be able to see what celebrities think of products and brands. Speaking at the SMX conference in New York, Google’s head of social advertising Christian Oestlien revealed that celebrity endorsements will be appearing under PPC ads in search results. The service combines AdWords with Google+, allowing celebrities who use the social network to +1 a website or product that they want to endorse. Searchers will then see the star’s profile picture and the ‘has endorsed this product’ tagline in PPC ads – so it’s a step further than a +1 recommendation from a mere mortal. The example Oestlien showed at the conference was US department store Sears being endorsed by the Kardashians, who have apparently already signed up to the service.
Also this week, Google chairman Eric Schmidt appeared before a US Senate subcommittee in Washington. The hearing was to investigate claims of Google’s anti-competitive behaviour, and abuses of power. One such claim was that Google is ‘cooking’ search results to favour its own products and services; however, Schmidt said “I can assure you we’re not cooking anything”.
|Facebook’s f8||Facebook is gradually unveiling a series of updates to coincide with the f8 developer conference in San Francisco. Earlier in the week, the basic design was given a facelift while a real-time news ticker was added to the right hand side. The News Feed homepage – which was previously arranged chronologically – was also tweaked to give more prominence to ‘top stories’. Designed to make the social network more like a newspaper, the stories and updates deemed by Facebook to be most important or relevant are now being given priority; a spot on the front page as it were. Exactly how relevance is calculated remains a mystery.
Last night, meanwhile, Facebook unveiled its new music and video service. Some kind of media-driven overhaul was widely expected as one panel entitled The Future of Digital Music includes speakers such as Spotify CEO Daniel Ek and MTV founder Bob Pittman. Meanwhile, Facebook employee Ji Lee tweeted about a feature allowing users to listen live to what their friends are listening to. The tweet was later deleted. But just how important are these changes? Well, ahead of the official announcement, Mashable’s Ben Parr said: “I have seen what Facebook is launching on Thursday, and it’s going to change the world of social media.”
|All your iPhones are belong to us|| We might have to wait a little longer for the long-awaited iPhone 5, if reports are to be believed. A source ‘close to the company’ told Reuters that Samsung is considering taking legal action against Apple. The injunction would block the sale of the iPhone 5, or any other new devices, as Samsung believes they will contain technology that it holds the patents for. However, it could simply be retaliation – earlier in the year Apple succeeded in blocking sales of the South Korean company’s Galaxy Tab across Europe on the grounds of patent infringement.
Speaking of the iPhone 5, Apple has scheduled a media event for the 4th of October, which many believe will be the unveiling of the new device. The event will be overseen by new CEO Tim Cook following the departure of Steve Jobs last month. Rumours of two devices being released – the iPhone 5 and a more affordable version of the iPhone 4 – were further fuelled by Apple board member Al Gore, who referred to “new iPhones” in a talk at a leadership summit on Wednesday.