theEweekly Wrap: farmers, developers, and innovators
|Olympics go online||The official website for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games has been launched, as the marketing campaign for the games went into overdrive. London 2012 merchandise shops have been opened in Heathrow Terminal 5, St Pancras International station, and various other locations around the capital. Meanwhile, mascots Wenlock and Mandeville star in a promotional video alongside celebrated UK athletes.
The site allows users to create their own mascot avatar, find news and tickets for events, and see photo updates of building work at Olympic Park. Committee chairman Sebastian Coe told New Media Age news site: “The new Games site will engage young people digitally.” A mobile site is set to be released soon. An official website for the royal wedding was also launched this week, built using Google’s App Engine platform.
|Anomaly Farm||The Google algorithm change known as the Farmer update has apparently affected some ‘good’ sites. Intended to lower the rankings of content farms and copy-paste sites, it went live last week and affected around 12 per cent of US search results, according to Search Engine Land. Their stats show numerous sites have dropped dramatically in the SERPs, and have experienced a decline in traffic as a consequence.
Although some of these are precisely what Google intended to target, an anomaly appears to have resulted in damage to some blogs and other ‘good’ sites too. Google is apparently aware of the problem, as Fellow Amit Singhal told Wired.com: “Our engineers are working as we speak building a new layer on top of this algorithm to make it even more accurate than it is.” How the algorithm changes may affect SEO best practice remains to be seen.
|Appazon||Details have emerged about the rumoured Amazon app store. The retailer launched an Appstore Developer Program in January 2011, including a Twitter account, blog and portal where developers can submit work for verification. Apps will be a new category on the Amazon website, with the retailer and developer sharing the revenue; how the split shapes up in comparison to Android and Apple appstore charges is yet to be revealed.
Speaking to Mobile-Device blog, Appstore project manager Chris Rubenson said: “Although the store will feature Android apps at launch, we will evaluate opportunities to expand our selection on an ongoing basis.” It seems the Amazon Appstore will therefore be in direct competition with the Apple and Android stores. Although rumours suggest the Appstore will launch very soon, Amazon isn’t giving the game away just yet.
|TED 2011||The annual TED conference kicked off in California on Wednesday, promising the usual mix of sleek technology, novel ideas, and the celebration of unlikely figures. The Technology, Entertainment and Design convention is now in its 27th year, and is host to 50 speakers and 1,000 prestigious guests. Talks so far have included National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen discussing the future of the polar bear, Jamie Oliver on bringing his healthy ethos to the US and the head of Al Jazeera TV channel lauding the social media fuelled revolution in the Middle East.
As for the technology talks, they have not disappointed. Innovations showcased have included the crowd-sourced Johnny Cash music video, a 3D mapping programme, the Google Art Project and Push Pop Press – a new e-book format for iPad that allows users to explore interactive images and content.