Behind Digital PR » google Thoughts from Hill & Knowlton's Australasian Digital Practice head, Matt Overington. Mon, 16 Feb 2009 06:16:00 +0000 en hourly 1 Outgoing communications filters Wed, 08 Oct 2008 00:37:00 +0000 Matt Overington We all know that the connectedness of the modern world means it’s all too easy to communicate with others when we really shouldn’t. A late night at the pub and you suddenly decide it’s a great idea to send an SMS to a friend telling them exactly what you think of them for not returning the book you loaned them two years back. Or what you thought of your manager in your last job… Or an ex…You get the picture, but clearly the potential to wake up the following morning with e-regret is all too real. 
Google has now come up with a solution for its GMail service called Mail Goggles.
When you write an email and click “send”, Google will present a dialogue box and give you 60 seconds to solve a series of mathematical problems. Solve the problems in the allotted time, and the email will be sent. Fail and the email won’t.
The feature can be set to operate between certain hours on particular days of the week and you can set the difficulty of the problems. In other words, those that are bad at maths still have a chance of sending messages, while the boffins have less chance of outwitting the system when not firing on all mental cylinders. (Click here for a screenshot).
We’ve long had filters and aggregators to manipulate and help prioritise the information that we receive from other sources, but now we’ve got filters on our outgoing communications as well.
While this is undeniably a gimmicky feature (of potential use to some more than others), it made me wonder what might be on the horizon in terms of tools that filter our interaction with others. After all, if we’ve got to build tools to stop us sending unwanted emails at all hours of the day and night, what’s next?
Personally, I’d like to see filters that convert any SMS shorthand in an email back to real text. Or a tool that allows me to type what I want into a Twitter tweet that automatically adjusts my comment to fit the 140 character limit without losing the meaning. Or something that prevents me from selecting “Reply to All” when I mean to hit “Forward”. 
But then again, perhaps there is no substitute for common sense.
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Google begins commoditisation of web marketing? Thu, 28 Aug 2008 03:28:00 +0000 Matt Overington Google has launched an interesting tool called to help small to medium businesses develop an online marketing plan (thanks go to James Tuckerman for alerting me to this). The tool is built around a 10-step process to help users identify opportunities for their business and culminates in producing an automatically-generated marketing plan.

After spending a fair bit of time playing with the tool over the past couple of days, I’ve concluded that it’s designed to encourage businesses to sign up for Google AdWords. The tool focuses on stepping the user through how search marketing works and helps select keywords. The final output is a slick, 12-page PDF document that can be taken to managers to feed into a broader marketing plan. It’s elegant, and does a good job of demystifying the world of paid search and measurement (though one negative point is the potential for a user to think that AdWords is the be-all and end-all of “online marketing”).

This news comes as Red Herring today reports that Google has changes planned for AdWords that could boost the number of paid ads delivered per search.

Google’s advertising delivers the majority of its revenue (US$16.4 billion in 2007), so driving awareness and adoption is an obvious strategy for growing business and revenue.

From a digital PR perspective, the timing is perfect. If used properly, Google’s tool will help grow awareness of the opportunities surrounding digital marketing and break down some barriers to adoption. This should help open the door to conversations around what opportunities exist above and beyond Google AdWords, while reinforcing the measurability of online PR. Great work, Google!

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