Google Brings Context-Aware Search Technology to Digital Display

Google Now - Outdoor Search

Google’s Now technology delivers mobile users with up-to-date information based on search history, location and time of day. For example, it can provide weather and traffic information based on it’s observation of a user’s daily routine.

Google has partnered with R/GA London to bring Google Now to digital display screens at 160 bus shelter and Underground locations around the city.

The pilot project dubbed “Google Outside”, takes into account such things as location and the weather to provide timely information about attractions and businesses in the local area.

[via Marketing Magazine UK]


Google Doodle Celebrates 46th Anniversary of First Episode of Star Trek

Google doodle Star Trek

If there’s anything I’ve learned from watching the original Star Trek, it’s if you’re beaming down to a planet in a red shirt, you’re probably not coming back.

Google pays tribute to the red-shirted crew member in today’s home page doodle that celebrates the 46th anniversary of the airing of the first ‘official’ episode of Star Trek on Setember 8, 1966.

The episode titled ‘The Man Trap‘, featured the crew of the Enterprise on a routine mission to complete a medical examination of a husband-wife archaeological team, but instead they unknowingly encounter a shape shifting alien.

The mini story presented in the doodle is actually based on another episode from Season 1 titled ‘Arena‘. Captain Kirk must battle the reptile-like captain of an enemy ship, in order to save the Enterprise from destruction.


Google Doodle Celebrates Famed French Photographer Robert Doisneau

Google Doodle April 14 Robert DoisneauThe creative folks at Google has created hundreds of their doodles over the past 14 years. The first time Google modified their logo was on August 30th, 1998 to commemorate the Burning Man festival.

Today’s Google doodle commemorate’s what would have been the 100th birthday of French photographer Robert Doisneau. Doisneau is best known for the 1950 photograph titled ‘Le baiser de l’hotel de ville‘ (Kiss by the Hotel de Ville), featuring a young couple kissing on a busy street in Paris. The photograph, which was first published in the June 12, 1950 issue of Life, came to be recognized as ‘the’ iconic image of the romance of Paris and has been featured on hundreds of posters and cards sold around the world.

The identity of the couple in the photograph remained a mystery until 1992, when Doisneau was taken to court by Jean and Denise Lavergne. Doisneau revealed that the couple were two aspiring actors, Françoise Delbart and Jacques Carteaud. He had seen the two kissing just a few moments earlier and asked them to recreate the scene at three locations; Place de la Concorde, the Rue de Rivoli and finally the Hôtel de Ville.

Françoise Delbart was given an signed and stamped original print of the photograph as part of her payment. She sold the print in 2005 for €155,000, after an unsuccessful attempt to sue Doisneau for a share of the photograph’s royalties.

The three other photographs in the Google doodle are Dog on Wheels(1977), The Tug Boat of the Champ de Mars, and Three Children(1971).

Doisneau passed away April 1, 1994 a few weeks shy of his 82nd birthday.

Google Valentine’s Day Doodle Features Tony Bennett’s ‘Cold Cold Heart’

Google Valentine's Day DoodleGoogle rarely disappoints when it comes to creating a custom version of their logo for special days, and the Google doodle for Valentine’s Day is no exception.

A young boy uses the search engine trying to find that special something to impress a little girl. I really thought she’s go for that dinosaur sweatshirt, but she returns to her skipping unimpressed.

The animation was co-created by Michael “Lippy” Lipman with Google designer Willie Real, and features Tony Bennett’s 1951 recording of Hank Williams’ ‘Cold Cold Heart’, a number one hit on Billboard.

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone 🙂

He Tweets, He Scores! Which Team Leads the NHL in Social Media Success?

Which team leads the NHL in Social Media?It’s NHL All-Star weekend in Ottawa and the best players in the league are set to face off against each other in the skills competition and of course in the big game Sunday afternoon.

Social Media has become an essential part of any organization’s digital communications strategy, and the 30 teams that make up the National Hockey league are no different. The following is a ranking of which teams are (based on my formula) leading the NHL on the four big social media platforms; Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+. Every team has an active Facebook and Twitter account, only 15 have a YouTube account, and 21 teams have a Google+ page of which 14 are active. I debated whether to include YouTube and Google+ in the final rankings, but in the end I thought it was important to recognize teams that were having success with YouTube and ones that were establishing themselves in Google+. I did not include Foursquare, LinkedIn Groups or Tumblr (the Boston Bruins have an awesome Tumblr page).

It’s obvious when you look at the overall ranking that teams with long histories, strong fan bases and on-ice success are going to rate high. When the numbers were added up the Philadelphia Flyers came out on top, thanks to a top 10 presence on all four platforms. Original 6 teams were in the top half of the list, only the Rangers’ rank suffered at #16 due to their lack of YouTube or Google+ accounts.

To create the individual platform rankings I looked to metrics that would help to show user activity, rather than just rely on number of likes, fans, followers or subscribers to define the team’s success. The numbers in brackets below show where the team ranked on the individual platforms. For example Philadelphia ranked #6 on Facebook, #3 on Twitter, #10 on YouTube and #7 on Google+. When I add these rankings together they add up to 25 which betters Vancouver’s total of 32. You’ll see several teams with rankings of #16 and #22 for YouTube and Google+. For teams that did not have a YouTube account I ranked them all at #16, and for those without any ‘official’ Google+ presence were ranked at #23. (teams with inactive Google+ accounts were rated below the active)

Top NHL Teams on Social Media

  1. 1. Philadephia Flyers (6-3-10-7)
  2. 2. Vancouver Canucks (3-6-16-7)
  3. 3. Detroit Red Wings (4-4-2-24)
  4. 4. Toronto Maple Leafs (7-11-16-1)
  5. 5. Montreal Canadiens (5-15-6-11)
  6. 6. Chicago Black Hawks (1-10-16-15)
  7. 7. Buffalo Sabres (2-7-16-22)
  8. 8. Anaheim Ducks (16-16-1-9)
  9. 9. Edmonton Oilers (12-5-3-25)
  10. 10. Pittsburgh Penguins (14-1-16-16)
  11. 11. Boston Bruins (2-7-16-22)
  12. 12. Los Angeles Kings (15-21-8-3)
  13. 13. Tampa Bay Lightning (18-9-16-5)
  14. 14. San Jose Sharks (10-8-14-17)
  15. 15. Washington Capitals (8-17-16-13)
  16. 16. New York Rangers (9-22-16-12)
  17. 17. Dallas Stars (19-23-16-2)
  18. 18. St Louis Blues (25-13-13-10)
  19. 19. Colorado Avalanche (24-14-16-8)
  20. 20. NY Islanders (26-25-4-22)
  21. 21. Calgary Flames (13-18-12-22)
  22. 22. Nashville Predators (20-12-16-19)
  23. 23. New Jersey Devils (22-19-9-18)
  24. 24. Carolina Hurricanes (27-22-5-21)
  25. 25. Minnesota Wild (17-29-16-19)
  26. 26. Ottawa Senators (23-24-16-22)
  27. 27. Winnipeg Jets (21-27-16-22)
  28. 28. Florida Panthers (29-28-11-22)
  29. 29. Columbus Blue Jackets (28-30-15-20)
  30. 30. Phoenix Coyotes (30-26-16-29)


FacebookWith over 800 million users worldwide, Facebook is the reigning king of social media platforms and all 30 teams have active brand pages there. Over 11.5 million people have ‘Liked’ NHL brand pages with the Penguins, Red Wings, Bruins and Black Hawks leading the league with over 1 million fans each. The new Winnipeg Jets have managed to attract 133,838 ‘Likes’ since launching their page less than a year ago on May 31.

To create the Facebook rankings I used total ‘Likes’, ‘People Talking About’ and percentage of total Page Likes Talking About. People Talking About provides a nice ‘snapshot in time’ adding up all the page, post likes, shares, comments, photo tags over the past 7 days. The ranking for each metric was then added together for a final overall ranking for Facebook.

Top 10 NHL Teams on Facebook

  1. 1. Pittsburgh Penguins
  2. 2. New York Rangers
  3. 3. Philadephia Flyers
  4. 4. Detroit Red Wings
  5. 5. Edmonton Oilers
  6. 6. Vancouver Canucks
  7. 7. Boston Bruins
  8. 8. San Jose Sharks
  9. 9. Tampa Bay Lightning
  10. 10. Chicago Black Hawks


TwitterTwitter is an ideal place for any fan to stay up to date on the latest news and game updates from their favorite NHL team, and all 30 teams have active accounts. Montreal and Vancouver with 233,664 and 216,747 followers respectively are out on front of the pack, with Pittsburgh trailing in third with 167,246 followers. The Winnipeg Jets are the fastest-rising team on Twitter, they already rank #14 in followers despite only launching on May 31st, of 2011.

The Twitter ranking uses number of total followers, the number of lists the team has been added to, as well as the number of retweets and references in previous the 7 days. The results of these individual metrics are added together to create the final twitter ranking.

Top 10 NHL Teams on Twitter

  1. 1. Chicago Black Hawks
  2. 2. Boston Bruins
  3. 3. Vancouver Canucks
  4. 4. Detroit Red Wings
  5. 5. Montreal Canadiens
  6. 6. Philadelphia Flyers
  7. 7. Toronto Maple Leafs
  8. 8. Washington Capitals
  9. 9. New York Rangers
  10. 10. San Jose Sharks


YouTubeEvery second one hour of video is uploaded to YouTube, and a quick search on any hockey team will bring up a long list of fan posted clips. Only 15 of the 30 teams have active YouTube accounts, the remaining teams host video on their main sites using the standard Neulion video player. 2007 Stanley Cup champs, the Anaheim Ducks are the leader on YouTube with nearly 1.3 million total views. Almost half of that total is for just two videos, 375,000 views of the Predators Ryan Suter kicking the puck into his own net in a game against the Ducks, and 199,000 watched Anaheim players attempting to speak Finnish. The NY Islanders, who have had an active YouTube account since September 2006 were second with 730,243 total views. The Red Wings followed in third with 565,250 views followed closely by the Oilers with 554,868.

Top 10 NHL Teams on YouTube

  1. 1. Anaheim Ducks
  2. 2. Detroit Red Wings
  3. 3. Edmonton Oilers
  4. 4. New York Islanders
  5. 5. Carolina Hurricanes
  6. 6. Montreal Canadiens
  7. 7. Buffalo Sabres
  8. 8. Los Angeles Kings
  9. 9. New Jersey Devils
  10. 10. Philadelphia Flyers


Google+Google+ may only be 6 months old, but in that time it has attracted 90 million fans and many more to come as Google forces new users to sign up for a G+ and Gmail accounts. Some NHL teams such as Toronto, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Buffalo have embraced Google+ and are posting content regularly. 21 of the 30 NHL teams have created ‘official’ Google+ pages, while only 14 of those 21 were active at the time of review.

Teams are ranked on Google+ rankings based on a total of how many circles they have been added to and times they have been +’d. Teams with inactive Google+ accounts were ranked below teams that are active, and teams that have yet to establish any presence were all ranked #22.

Toronto Maple leafs currently lead the league as they belong to 1569 circles and have been +’d 1008 times (as of Jan 27, 2012). Dallas is second belonging to 1231 circles and have been +’d 133 times.

Top 10 NHL Teams on Google+

  1. 1. Toronto Maple Leafs
  2. 2. Dallas Stars
  3. 3. Los Angeles Kings
  4. 4. Buffalo Sabres
  5. 5. Tampa Bay Lightning
  6. 6. Philadephia Flyers
  7. 7. Colorado Avalanche
  8. 8. Vancouver Canucks
  9. 9. Anaheim Ducks
  10. 10. Montreal Canadiens

Hope you enjoyed this social media snapshot of the NHL. I have plans to look at the NFL, NBA, and English Premier League in the near future. Please let me know if you have any suggestions or comments on the way that I ranked the teams.

Now that I have the numbers I’d like to dig down a bit deeper and review the content and engagement strategies that are being used, but first I’m going to relax with a few ‘pops’ and enjoy a weekend of All Star hockey. Cheers and Go Leafs Go!

Google Interactive Puppeteer Doodle Marks Mark Jim Henson’s 75th Birthday

Jim Henson 75th Birthday Google DoodleToday (September 24) marks what would have been Jim Henson’s 75th birthday. Google has partnered with the Jim Henson Company have gotten together to create an home page doodle that visitors can ‘puppet’ themselves. At first I didn’t understand the absence of audio, but it makes sense that the user as puppeteer gets to add the voices. It’s like having your very own puppet show to play with.

The doodle features a number of easter eggs including:

  • Select the red ‘O’ character, then move your mouse back and forth rapidly: his glasses will fly off.
  • Click on the green ‘L’ monster, then press the up arrow or click 8 times: the red ‘E’ monster will eat the ‘L’.

More to come…

Google Animates Logo in Honour of Freddie Mercury’s 65th Birthday

Google Doodle Freddie Mercury 65th BirthdayToday would have been Freddie Mercury’s 65th birthday, and you can bet your white tank top and mustache that the party would have been a spectacular one. In the 70s and 80s Freddie and Queen sold millions of album and scored hits with such classics as Killer Queen, We Are the Champions, Another One Bites the Dust and Bohemian Rhapsody among others.

In honour of Freddie’s big day the Google team has replaced their logo with an animated version of the lyrics from one of Queen’s long list of hits, ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’. Why ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’? The lyrics (“Don’t stop me now, I’m having such a good time, I’m having a ball”) were chosen from a HMV poll of 3,000 Queen fans to celebrate the band’s 40th anniversary.

At the time of it’s release in 1979, ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ was not one of Queen’s best known songs. The song managed to get to Number 9 on the UK singles charts but only managed to peak at Number 86 on the Billboard Hot 100. It’s use in movies (Shaun of the Dead), TV shows (Top Gear), commercials (Panasonic, Gatorade, Cadbury) and cover versions (McFly hit Number One in 2004 as a single from the benefit album Sport Relief) has made it one of Queen’s most popular songs.

You’d have to think that Freddie would have loved the animation showing him floating up from the stage to ride a tiger through rings of fire in outer space. Next thing you know he’s defeating aliens with a rainbow ray before relaxing on a thrown surrounded by singing tigers, lions and mustached bears on bicycles.

This effort by Google ranks right up there with the best of their doodles including ones for Martha Graham, Les Paul 96th birthday, and Lucille O’Ball’s 100th birthday.

Google’s Street View Icon Celebrates First-Day of Same-Sex Marriage in New York State

Google Street View Icon Celebrates First-Day of Same-Sex Marriage in New York State

Today is the first day that same-sex marriage has become legal in New York State. If you’ve been looking around on Google Street View today anywhere in New York State I hope you noticed the Pegman waving his rainbow flag with pride.

New York is the sixth state to make same-sex marriage legal. The others are Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, as well as the District of Columbia.

Is Google’s Les Paul Doodle the Best Ever?

Google Doodle - Les PaulThe Google logo doodles have come a long way since the first one appeared August, 1998 as a tribute to the Burning Man Festival.

While most Google doodles are simply static images, others like the Martha Graham birthday animation and the playable Pac-man game take the art to a higher level.

The Google doodle posted June 9 was tribute to the Les Paul, the American guitar pioneer who would have been 96 on that day. The logo was a playable guitar that visitors could strum and even record. The guitar logo proved to be so popular that Google kept it on the American home page for an extra day before moving it to a permanent home.

What’s your favorite Google doodle? You can view them all here.