FWM Digital Bytes

Latest in digital newsGoogle’s Keyword conundrum

If you use Google Analytics (and, let’s face it, who doesn’t?) there’s big and not particularly good news for you on the Google blog. The search engine company has revealed that it will no longer offer comprehensive analytics on the organic keywords that users arrive at your site from. Instead, you’ll only get data from users who are not logged in to a Google service. The move, Google has said, comes out of a desire to protect its users’ privacy. Writing on the Google Analytics blog, Amy Chang explains: “As search becomes an increasingly customized experience, particularly for signed in users, we believe that protecting these personalized search results is important. As part of that effort, today the Google Search team announced that SSL Search will become the default experience for signed in users on Google.com.”

Though this isn’t the sweeping change it may seem (Google will continue to provide data for users who are not logged in), it means that around 10% of organic traffic will be unaccounted for. It also suggests that further changes may well be down the line – if organic searches can be modified, might Google be tempted to change other metrics? If it remains the only significant change Google make to their service, it’s a cunning one. Keywords are the lifeblood of SEO and by restricting the data users can see, Google could well be subtly attempting to drive more users to their paid service, Adwords. PPC data will remain unaltered and therefore more tempting. A cynical reading of situation perhaps, but not one without merit, we think. Whether it will succeed or fail though is something even Google can’t control.

Tweets up as Chime.in launches
The company that owns Twitter apps Echofan and UberSocial has launched a social network of their own in the shape of Chime.in. UberMedia rolled the new platform out quietly this week and have described it as an ‘interest network’ that blends the best of Reddit and Facebook to allow users to post content based on specific headings and interests. The ability to comment on and like posts is also available and advert functionality will be ready for use from next year. Early take up has been slow and if the platform is going to truly rival Twitter, it’s going to have to speed up pretty soon, because the micro-blogging site this week revealed that they now have over 100 million active users. Speaking at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo also revealed that the site experiences a staggering amount of daily use: “We had 30% of our monthly active users login in every day at the beginning of the year. Now it’s over 50%.” Costollo added that nearly 250 million tweets are posted every day and that the company is valued at around $8billion. Chime.in, over to you…

Do want!
Online auction site eBay is the latest company to partner with Facebook as the launch of the “social verbs” that the company discussed at last month’s F8 conference edge closer to launch. At the event, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook will no longer feature just a ‘Like’ button, but also a ‘Want’ and an ‘Own’ button for products, making Facebook an even more enticing platform to business and marketers. eBay are the first to get on board with the possibilities, and the site and its 180 major clients will be able to use the new buttons when they’re up. Spokesperson Johnna Hoff told ClickZ News: “Once the new ‘Want’ and ‘Own’ buttons do go live in Magento retailers’ shopping experiences, customers who click them can expect to see the activity show up in their Facebook activity. Their friends will then be able to see the items they want, or even already own, and can check out the items for themselves.”

Putting the globe on the map
Finally, NASA and Japan have launched a free online map that will act as the world’s most complete track of the planet’s topographic features. The map has been created from images taken aboard NASA’ Terra spacecraft and gives users what NASA’s Mike Abrams calls the “highest-resolution global topography data available”. The map will cover 99% of the Earth’s landmass and spans from 83 degress north latitude to 83 degrees south.