Google Search Update…

Back in August I took a look at a whole host of different tools that can help with your day-to-day productivity.

The release of the beta Google desktop adds yet another tool to the mix.  There’s been a lot of comments on the new search tool, here’s my two cents.

First up, to dispel a myth, Google desktop works with Firebird/Mozilla just fine.

As a search tool, Google desktop doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of X1 or DT Search but it doesn’t matter in my opinion.

The advantage of Google desktop is that it’s fast, works as part of your daily browsing habit and doesn’t take over your computer.

I’m already a fan. When I am researching something I primarily use Google, when the results come back, at the top of the page, are results from my hard drive. This has already saved me a lot of time.  It only searches Outlook/Outlook Express e-mail, Office documents and Text files but for my purposes that’s perfect.  It also keeps a record of previous websites you’ve visited (you can turn it off) which is a real productivity feature if you’re browsing a lot.

X1 and DT Search give you more powerful features, but if you’re looking for a tool that will save you time finding information in Microsoft Office and Outlook then I recommend this tool.

It is fast and sits nicely with your existing work practices.


Google have also just released an SMS search facility for US mobile phone users.

Protecting the brand…

How far would you go to protect your brand? Can you censure a customer for their use of your product?

Jim Horton has an interesting example.

BMW have sent a cease-and-desist letter to a porno search engine which displays (amongst other things) photographs of an adult nature which include BMW cars. The site is dismissing BMW’s claims…

“As far as we know, we haven’t done anything wrong. Our search engine is a navigational aid. We provide a way for our users to locate galleries as quickly and conveniently as possible. If we give in to BMW’s claim, other search engines will have a problem as well.” according to Chief Marketing Mike Schwalbach.” 

The ever changing world….

The nature and techniques of Public Relations have changed a lot over the past few years. These changes have impacted every area of the profession from internal communications to community relations, investor relations and of course the most high profile practice area, Media Relations.

Whisper it very softly, but we’re not just talking about blogs, we’re talking about e-mail, instant messaging, changing audience behaviors etc.  The one common element is that all PR pros need to be aware of these changes and how they impact their outreach programs.

On the media relations front, ClickZ’s Executive Editor Rebecca Lieb has a piece on the changes in the media relations area and of course the one constant, troublesome PR people!

On a related note, Rebecca’s colleague, Pamela Parker recently took part in a PRSA online seminar on blogging (with Steve Rubel), her presentation [PowerPoint] covers how blogs impact traditional journalism.  It’s available online and is worth a read.

Google launches local desktop search…

Like most people, the number of documents and e-mails I deal with grows on a daily basis. 

Trying to manage those documents and find the information hidden in them quickly becomes a major challenge. Well relief may be at hand…

Google Desktop Search

Google have announced the first beta of its desktop search engine.  It’s only just been released so it’s too early to review it, but its worth a look at the very least!

Google searches on your computer – sounds like heaven!

You can download it here.

When corporate blogs bite the hand….


A growing number of organizations are evaluating the creation of a corporate or executive blog. In the technology world blogs such as that of Jonathan Schwartz at Sun Microsystems are already creating a lot of profile and discussion.


The benefits of the corporate blog are widely covered around the Internet so I don�t plan to spend a long time on that topic here.  It�s sufficient to say that corporate blogs offer some of the following benefits:

  • Provide a human face to your organization
  • Establish dialogue with your audience(s)
  • Provide a useful medium for �flying kites� � as the politicians would put it
  • Promote �thought leadership�
  • Build executive profiles
  • Support and contribute to news generation


There are many more.


But while this is all very positive, establishing a corporate blog also raises some risks such as the disclosure of confidential information.  But what I�d like to briefly cover is a different issue.  The creation of a corporate blog places a number of specific demands upon the individual and the organization.


Before embarking on a corporate blog you should be cognizant of these demands.


Remember, no one asked you to start a corporate blog.  You took or your executive took the decision that it would make sense to create a blog for all the reasons outlined above.  That�s fine, but be aware of the implications of that decision.  To ignore them will put the success of your blog at risk.


Here�s a few that immediately jump to mind:


Regular postings

No corporate blog has to be updated every day.  The amount of time an executive can devote to blogging will probably be restricted by the demands of the business.  Daily posting isn�t important, but regular posting is.  While the emergence of RSS feeds reduces this problem, it�s common sense to establish up front the likely frequency of posting. Then you are setting appropriate expectations among your audience


You�re on the Internet now

When you create a blog, you are taking a decision to place your executive in the public domain.  One of the risks of this strategy is that individuals have the ability and the right to comment, discuss and even disagree with your executive�s views.  This is part of the process of being more open.  Implementing content management strategies inspired by the secret police of a communist state, defeats the purpose of blogging and will have a negative impact on your audience � as long as comments are legitimate and not offensive.  Refusing to allow comments that don�t fit in with your corporate message is not blogging.


Conversation is a two way street.

You don�t see companies promoting customer service phone numbers and then not employing anyone to answer the phone (those annoying automated customer service systems at least answer the call).  If you�re establishing a blog, you are doing it, in part, to create dialogue.  In planning a corporate blog remember that it doesn�t just require the time to write posts, it requires an investment in time to reply to feedback, engage in debate.  Without this two-way interaction you might as well just post a �letter from the CEO�.


If you follow PR blogs, you�ll probably understand the motivation for this post. It appears that comments to Richard Edelman�s blog are edited. This is wrong.  Furthermore there doesn�t seem to be any two-way dialogue between the author and the reader. While I commend Edelman�s decision to launch a blog (they are the first large agency to do so) they need to review the operational side of the blog and fix these problems.  If they don�t then the blog will simply become brochure ware.


Corporate blogs are a significant undertaking.  Make sure you understand the investment required and the risks involved before you embark on something that damages rather than promotes good conversation.



  • Shel asks the question:

“Are we in PR, so new to all of this that we spend more time gushing about blogs than talking about outcomes, just naive if we expect all blogs two be uncensored, democratic, two-way conversations? Or have some bloggers retreated into traditional controlled communication efforts? What do you think?”

My response is that if you want to establish a credible, two-way conversation with your audience via a blog then treat the medium seriously.  It’s not naive to expect blogs to be uncensored – except in cases such as spam of defamatory comments. If an organization takes the decision to create a corporate blog then grow up and accept the responsibilities that go with it.  If you’re not comfortable in that environment then don’t participate. Create one of those wonderful CEO’s letters instead.

Think and communicate…

Over the past two and a half years (and 1,100 posts) I have occasionally recieved correspondence from people unhappy with something I’ve written or an opinion I have offered.

I have a policy of always offering people a right to reply. However, in most cases Mr. or Ms. Angry just vents in an e-mail including some thinly veiled insults or threats and leaves it at that. I’m sure they feel better about it but it doesn’t actually address what they are unhappy with.

We’re all human, we all make mistakes.  But it’s how we address those mistakes that often can make or break a story.

This was brought home to me this week by the approaches of two people who contacted me regarding this blog.

Rather than ranting or raving about a percieved slight or innacuracy they established a dialogue and in my opinion did a fine job of putting forward their case.

I posted about John Zagula’s new book earlier in the week.  A a couple of days later I received an e-mail from Justin Kirby, co-founder of the Viral + Buzz Marketing Association who contrary to my earlier post had read it and got in touch.

Neither party was screaming or threatening, rather they established a dialogue and did a fine job of promoting their respective initiatives.

I think there’s a lesson there for most PR people, I certainly learned from it.


You can find out more about the Viral + Buzz Marketing Association here. 

Blogging for PR

WebPro News has an article on blogging and PR which mentions Steve Rubel, Neville Hobson, Mike Manuel, AdRants, and  Wayne Hurlbert.

“An article in BusinessWeek highlighting blogs new importance to companies states, “Blogs or websites with content management systems are changing the model for companies, we really now have to engage customers on a one on one level”. With Microsoft leading the way, corporations have accepted blogging as an integral part of public relations. Companies now recognize the need to talk to their clients and potential clients in a more intelligent and unbiased way.”