Archive for January, 2010
Localeze, the premium business content provider has struck a partnership with Microsoft, rumored to give Google a run for their money. Microsoft will use Localeze’s 14 million business records to fuel Bing Local as well as Bing 411. This value-added content should give Microsoft some steady ground to stand on when going head-to-head against Google for the same local space.
Microsoft will use Localeze’s 14 million records as well as their 500,000 premium listings which are business-verified and passed through Localeze’s software to create Gold Sourced Content for local search. The premium listings will not only include information such as name/address and general contact information but value-added content like hours of operation, products and services offered, credit cards accepted, photos and more.
This news is great since Bing has been pushing for iPhone and other smart phone developers to use Bing’s SDK in the development of their smart phone applications. Developers now have another reason to use Microsoft’s search feature and local listings database for their apps.
The local listing space is getting competitive, yesterday AT&T announced the launch of its own local listings site, Buzz.
Several thousand users of Google’s Local Business Center (LBC) were recently surprised to find that they had received confidential LBC analytics information from other LBC users.
Google sends out a monthly newsletter to its LBC users that includes product news and Web traffic statistics related to users’ business search listings. As a result of an employee’s mistake, several thousand newsletter recipients received statistics for other people’s businesses.
No sensitive personal information was disclosed, a Google spokesperson said. Exposed data consisted of the number of times the account owner’s LBC listing appeared in Google local search results, the number of times searchers clicked on the listing and the associated Web site, and the number of clicks seeking further information and driving directions.
“Shortly after sending the newsletter to a small portion of our users (less than 1%), we discovered that some e-mails included incorrect business listing information,” a Google spokesperson said in an e-mailed statement. We promptly stopped sending any further e-mails and investigated the cause, which we found to be a human error while pulling together the newsletter content. We’d like to apologize to all the business owners affected and assure all our users that we’re working hard to ensure that nothing similar will happen again. Those affected should have all received a corrected e-mail.”
Google LBC users like David Dalka, a business development and online marketing strategy strategy consultant, reported receiving one of the errant e-mail messages and suggested that the incident could harm users’ trust of Google. “If the Google Local Business Results were sent to many people, this could likely be as serious as the AOL data breach,” he wrote.
AOL’s 2006 breach exposed about 20 million search terms and phrases used by 658,000 of its subscribers, so it’s not that serious, but it’s nonetheless embarrassing and something that Google doesn’t want to repeat. The company is exploring ways to automate its newsletter to remove the potential for mistakes of this sort.
The National Weather Service has issued a tornado warning for San Jose and The Bay Area, today, Wednesday. The NWS issued a tornado warning for parts of Monterey, Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties in the San Francisco Bay Area. This happened after wind gusts as fast as 85 mph were reported today.
This blogger has never heard of a tornado warning in The San Francisco Bay Area until today. In Santa Cruz County, California, 36,000 people lost power. Yesterday, Oakland was battered by hail storms. Rain has pelted the San Francisco Bay Area all day long.
According to SFGate.com and the National Weather Service’ Dan Reynolds, what we’re experiencing is called an El NiÃ±o, where thunderstorms over warm weather over the Pacific Ocean shoves clouds across the Pacific and into the West Coast. Since there’s no high pressure system to crowd-out the El NiÃ±o, it dominates the weather.
So get an umbrella, if you must go outside.
For now just stay tuned, or go to SFGate to read more.
Mike Blumenthal recently made a post about Google sending out the wrong Local Business Center information to some local businesses. I am not sure how this happened, but I have heard it was human error. Luckily none of the information was ‘sensitive’. The Local Business Center is a work in progress, and will make mistakes from time-to-time. The followed up with some apologies to businesses that received this incorrect data.