Tag Archive for 'google'

Google moves into deals & coupons business

In unprecedented move Google announced today on their blog that they will integrate the recently acquired affiliate network with their Product Search functionality to offer financially strapped US consumers context relevant coupon codes and discounts as they shop online.

This comes as no surprise to me. The recent acquisition of Performics has demonstrated the mega-company is not shy of entering the affiliate market, and the success of Google Adsense has clearly demonstrated the power of context relevant ads. Now, with all the talks about click spam and lowered number of clicks on these ads, Google had to come up with something to fight back the downturn and make their investors happy.

Please meet Google Shopping Deals!

Google Shopping Deals

How does Google Shopping Deals work? Actually quite simple. Google already had all the pieces in place and it was just a matter of putting them together.

  1. Affiliate offers (coupons and promotions) are channeled through Performics network to the Google Shopping Deals servers
  2. Software similar to Google Adsense constantly crawls Google Product Search pages and analyzes the content
  3. Coupon codes and promotions are displayed on the pages next to the products offered by merchants, offering extra discounts on the featured or similar merchandise from competing merchants.

As a trial, Google Shopping Deals has been introduced to a limited number of merchandise categories, and only on Product Search pages, but I clearly see Google adopting this great new product to their main search as well. In fact it would perfectly fit the recently spotted (and highly controversial) secondary search feature.

Speedlinking, news that caught my eye

SEO services from Google

You might already heard the big news, Google just completed Performics acquisition after they finally obtained the EU approval. What you might not have heard yet is that now along with Performics the affiliate network Google also owns Performics the SEO consulting company which offers various services to improve your website search result rankings on… Google. More from Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land.

RetailMeNot to launch social network

I just received a note from a PR company RetailMeNot hired to promote this event. I am not allowed to share the details but in a nutshell it is a social-shopping network for coupon-conscious shoppers which expands on the community currently built around coupon ranking services and the forums offered by the coupon site. I am beta-testing the interface and will try to make a short write up when it publicly launches on March 17.

New price tracking site - PricePinx

PricePinx is a new price tracking site that launched recently. The concept is similar to PriceProtectr however it was implemented using a bookmarklet (PriceProtectr has just recently added a browser plugin). The usage is pretty simple: browse to the product page, highlight the price, click on the !pinx button and enter your email. If the price drops you will receive an alert. Very useful if the merchant you shop at offers a price guarantee, or if you just want to keep an eye on a product.

New deal aggregator - Combyo

I have been exchanging emails with Pinaki who coded the website in his spare time and will sure write about it in more details later this month. Meanwhile visit it at and let me know if there is any particular aspect of it that you want me to pay attention to in my future review.

Random productivity related news

I might be out of the country but I am not away from the news. Here is a roundup of what caught my eye over the past week.

Craigsnumber changes domain name to

Graigsnumber, a free service offering users temporary phone numbers in the US, has added features and renamed itself to Numbr. The company is one of several offering voice related productivity services I reviewed in the past. They are in direct competition with PrivatePhone, a free service by NetZero.

Twenty money saving Firefox extensions

One reason to use Firefox over InternetExplorer is the huge number of plugins that enhances the browser functionality. SavingAdvice has compiled a list of 20 plugins for Firefox that will help you save money. I specifically like the Deal Alerts group with WootWatcher, UpdateScanner, and FatCash.

Language translation tool from Google

Google Word is a new addition to the suite of tools from Google (Wikipedia has a comprehensive list of all projects that Google currently runs). The tool translates your word to several languages of your choice and lists several related sentences highlighting how the word can be used in content. If you just want to check the word usage (w/o translation), typing in Google search “define:” followed by the desired word does the trick.

Free uncensored image hosting from PirateBay

This was speculated for some time and now the service has come to life and is available to everyone. With BayImg you can host files up to 100 MByte in size. No registration is required. Another similar service is AllYouCanUpload from CNet and Divshare, a file hosting service I personally used many times.

Google to buy GrandCentral

Techcrunch spreads the word that Google is looking to acquire GrandCentral, the VoIP service I have come to like very much.

Froogle no more, deceptive rewards, best cameras

Google renames Froogle to Google Product Search

Along with the name change comes some minor redesign as well: the search customization options are moved to the bottom of the results. In addition Google is actively promoting the new brand using regular search. Once in a while you will see a tip to use Product Search come up as the top placement in search results.

Read the official announcement at Google blog.

Google Product Search

MyPoints Giveth; MyPoints Taketh Away

Becky at Compare Rewards writes about the disappointing experience one of her readers had with MyPoints rewards program.

This morning I received an email from a member who was happy to report having won over 100,000 points in the latest MyPoints point giveaway. She noticed, however, that by the time the contest had ended, her points were worth less. “…what was a 7500 points for $100.00 gift card is now a $50.00 gift card,” she wrote

This is a reminder for all of us: the points are just points and their cash value is not guaranteed, and in fact can change any time. To avoid issues like this, use the programs that offer real cash back.

To find the program that fits you best, head to the comparison review I did last November, or use tools like evReward that automate the process for you.

Which digital camera is the best?

I will not answer this question for you, but I will help you find which digital camera is the most popular. Here are a few websites that publish this data:

Below is the popularity chart of Point & Shoot Cameras from Flickr. Do you know other sources? Put them in your comments.

Best Selling Cameras

Goog411 vs. Free411 vs. Tellme — who is better?

Cell Phone PadFollowing the recent launch of Google’s free 411 service, I decided to take a closer look at the three competitors offering free directory assistance and compare them side by side.

The notes below is the result of my investigation. If you have used any of these services, please leave your feedback in the comments.

Goog411 — dial 1-800-GOOG-411

Google service is the only one that actually connects you to the phone number you requested. The other two will just give you details, or will send them to you via SMS. This by itself can be a deal breaker for some when choosing which service to use. It often happens that you don’t have a pen handy or need to make a call on the go, and the ability to connect right away can be critical.

The absence of ads is a big plus as well. The 20 seconds you spend listening to ads is your time to lose.

Voice quality is the worst of all. I hope it improves though. The introductory recording mentions that it is an experimental product, and I hope for gradual improvements.

Free411 — dial 1-800-FREE-411 or 1-888-FREE-411

Free411 which I reviewed before, is the only service of the three that offers live operator support. While the other two try to resolve errors by either asking you to repeat the name or by offering alternative search options (by category for example), Free411 turns you over to an operator after the first or second unsuccessful attempt to recognize what you are saying.

The navigational menu is better than Google but worse than Tellme, in my opinion. The voice menu quality is similar to Tell me.

I personally found that Free411 has the most lengthy and distracting ads of the three services. This is a big minus. Could it be due to the live operator support? My guess is that it is human labor what brings costs up for Jingle Networks, the service operator, which in turn prompts them to put up more ads.

Tellme — dial 1-800-555-TELL

Tellme Networks (now a part of Microsoft) seems to offer the most solid product of all. Here are my notes.

The menu sounded the most naturally of all three services. For example when I was looking for Jewel Osco, the prompt sounded like this “found 2 in your city, would you like the one on ABC or XYZ street?”. This is much more natural way of saying it rather than listing all choices and repeating “Jewel Osco” each time.

The voice recording often doesn’t confirm the successful match which causes false positive errors. This is certainly a drag, especially if you have bad line quality. I didn’t notice this problem with the other two services.

Tellme is the only service that saved my last search and offered it as an option when I called next time. I find it very useful for the cases when my call drops and I have to call back.

Bonus features by Tellme

My biggest discovery with Tellme was that it is so much more than a free directory assistance. You can use it to look up stock quotes, check sports events, listen to local weather forecast, verify movie show times and even buy movie tickets directly from your phone!

In addition, for cell phone geeks, if you are a lucky owner of one of these phones, you can install the recently launched Tellme mobile application which will allow you to query the directory assistance interactively from your cell phone and to lookup the location and driving directions on a map. Isn’t that cool?!

Photo is courtesy of JonJon2k8 at Flickr

Share your bargains