In this episode we talked about switching from Contactually to Cloze:
Audi hitting level 3 autonomy next year:
Speed test tool from Cloudinary:
47% of Millennials have made a voice-device purchase in the past year
Twitter is linking to AMP pages from their mobile apps
Google now has full backup and sync for Google Photos and Google Drive
/page/ and /page.html can be indexed separately:
Google is testing a business dashboard within the web search results
Google restaurant local panel gets a tab for “menu”
Google Earth Pro is now free
Tip of the week: Use Google Contacts
Setting reminders to keep in touch with your leads, clients, and contacts is very important, and there are many systems that can help you set those reminders. But did you know there are also a few systems that can remind you automatically, so you never lose touch?
Before we get into that, though, this is A Brighter Web, episode number eight, brought to you by all of us at GreenMellen, which includes me, Mickey Mellen, and some of my awesome coworkers and friends that you’ll hear in future episodes. Our goal with this podcast is to share news, products, and ideas with you so we can all make the web a brighter place to be. These might be actual web tips, talking about strategy, WordPress plugins, and UX, or it might be productivity ideas to help you more done, or free up your time to do great things.
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Today we’ll talk more about ways to follow up automatically with people, self-driving cars coming quickly, better speed test tools for your website, millennials using voice search, Twitter using Amp, and lots of news from Google. Let’s dig in.
I’ve used a product called Contactually for a few years now, and over the weekend I switched from Contactually to Cloze. C-L-O-Z-E. Contactually is great, and has an excellent podcast, but Cloze has a few features that I like better. Both systems are great though, because they have proactive notifications. Most CRM systems like these that help you track clients, and deals, and those sorts of things, have great reminder systems where you can set up reminders on your own, but Cloze and Contactually both have systems where they’ll proactively notify you if you’ve lost touch with someone that you used to contact a lot more often.
There’s a lot more to both of these systems, and I’ve written a blog post that has a lot of detail about the ins and outs of each, and why I chose one over the other. You can read over at mickmel.com and I’ll have a link in the show notes.
There’s been a lot of talk over the past few years about self-driving cars coming, and how it’s going to change things. Audi just announced something that’s going to move things a big step forward. Tesla, that you’re all familiar with, has what they call Level Two Autonomy, which can help your driving quite a bit, and does a lot for you, but technically requires you to keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
Audi, next year, will launch a car with Level Three Autonomy, which where laws allow, which isn’t many places yet, but hopefully will be, you’ll be able to take your eyes off the road, and hands off the wheel in some situations. In this case, for this car, it’s going to be when the car is going 37 miles an hour, or lower, which is 60 kilometers an hour, which is why it’s a weird number, and is intended for use in stop and go traffic.
If you’re in a traffic jam, you’ll be able to just take your hands off the wheel, it’ll start automatically, stop automatically, steer automatically, and take care of it for you. Then if it’s starting to get into a situation where it needs you to take control, there’ll be alarms and buzzers, and things that will notify you to take control again. We’re still a long way from fully autonomous cars, but this is a big step forward.
If you’re a web developer, you’ve probably used various speed test tools over the years. Google has a good speed test tool, and we’re big fans of the ones that Pingdom has. But Cloudinary has a new speed test tool that pretty interesting. It does a full page speed test like many others, but gives very detailed metrics and graphs on every single graphic on the page to help you optimize those graphics to the extent possible.
When it comes to speed, images tend to be the biggest bottleneck, and using this tool can really help you get those narrowed down as tight as they can be. You can learn more about that and try if for yourself at webspeedtest.cloudinary.com.
We talk a good bit on here about how millennials make use of technology, and according to a new report from Walker Sands, 43% of millennials have made a purchase using voice in the past year. Further, 37% of millennials report “Always”, or “Often” shopping online using voice controlled devices, which is huge. All in all, about 19% of consumers have made a purchase using voice in the last year. I would assume the majority of those using Amazon’s Alexa. In the end, the key is to make sure you’re doing what you can to have your website and products show up in these voice only situations.
We’ve also talked quite a bit about Google’s AMP project on this podcast in the past. The new technology from Google that helps mobile web pages load much more quickly. Twitter’s made some changes through mobile apps recently, that is pushing that even further. Now, if you’re on a Twitter mobile app on iOS or Android, and click a link to a website, Twitter will take you directly to the AMP version of that page, if it’s available. It’s a fairly minor change, but it makes it that much more important to have good AMP pages, and that you do a lot of testing to make sure all of yours are in good shape.
Quite a bit of news from Google this month. First, they’ve released the tool we mentioned before, with a full backup of your computer in sync for Google Photos, and in Google Drive. It backs up your entire computer automatically, and really, it’s one of the things you probably shouldn’t need. Most of the people I know have things in pretty good shape, with Dropbox and Drive and all that. But if you tend to keep files scattered, and you don’t have it real organized, this would be a great solution, and it works with your existing Google Drive and Google Photos account. We’ll have a link to that in our show notes.
Also in our show notes is a link from Search Engine Roundtable, with a pretty short article that Google said specifically if you have a page URL that is /page, and another one that is /page.html, like for an older page URL, if they have different content, Google will index them separately. Now if they have the same content, you should have a redirect setup to make sure they land in the same place, but if you have separate content, Google’s okay with that, and it should work out just fine.
Google is also testing a new feature in the search results, where if you have a Google My Business account already claimed, and you do a search for your business, Google will sometimes insert a small dashboard right in the middle of the search results to encourage you to update your info. I have not been able to make this happen yet, but the article I read on Search Engine Land had a screenshot, so go check out our show notes to check out that article, and you may see that little business dashboard pop up in the search results sometime soon.
If you run a restaurant website, Google has added a new piece to the local panel with a tab for the menu. Google’s really been pushing hard to get menus on there for quite a while, and it’s a good thing for users, so it makes sense. Google’s not been real clear about how you get your menu data in there, just that they’ll promote it for you. It seems to pull the data from SinglePlatform, so if you’re a restaurant, I would encourage you to check out SinglePlatform. Make sure your menu info’s on there, and Google should begin showing it much more easily when people search for your restaurant online.
Lastly, related to Google, and not entirely web-related, but is Google Earth Pro is now free. A few months ago, Google released the new web-based interface for Google Earth, which is awesome, but the downloadable version is still much more powerful, and much more customizable. The pro version of Google Earth used to cost $399 a year, but now it’s completely free. That includes features like advanced data import, some more sophisticated measurement tools, higher resolution printing, movie creation, lots of good stuff in there, completely free. You can go download it for yourself and we have a link in the show notes.
And lastly, is our tip of the week. We’ve talked about using Contactually and Cloze and some of those advanced systems for handling contacts, but a good first step is to simply use Google Contacts as the main source of contacts on your phone. I did this about eight years ago, and it was great. I used an iPhone at the time, and it was ably to sync with my Google contacts. When I switched to Android, it was kind of automatic. Android does this natively for you, but Apple typically doesn’t. You’ll need to set that up yourself, but it really helps you quite a bit. Keeps your contacts synced and backed up in another system, gives you the ability to manage them from your computer, and makes it easier if you do want to integrate something like Contactually or Cloze, or FullContact, or any of those great tools down the road. It’ll become seamless with your phone at that point.
I’m a big fan of keeping my options open, and keeping yourself tied into iTunes for your contacts could leave you in a tricky place. If you lose access to iTunes, or lost your phone, or want to switch to Android or some other platform, and having everything in Google Contacts will just make your life much easier.
So that’s all we have for this week. You can find me on Twitter @mickmel or learn lots more at GreenMellenMedia.com. And you can find more about the podcast, including show notes and links at abrighterweb.com or on Facebook or Twitter at @ABrighterWeb. If you’re in the Atlanta area, come check out our Meetup held three times each month. If you’re not in the Atlanta area, we post recaps on the site soon after each Meetup. Either way, you can learn more about that at abrighterweb.com/meetup. Thanks for listening.