5 for Friday — Links, Stories, & Posts for Your Weekend

June 8th, 2012 by David Fransen

1.  The Never-Ending Quest For The Perfect Map – Google Official Blog

Wednesday afternoon, Google unveiled an assortment of new plans for their Maps features. For starters, they’re now extending their ambitious and mildly creepy quest to photograph every last inch of the planet to the level of an Olympic event, sending photographers out into the road-less netherworld with skis, galoshes and hiking boots to ensure the absolute accuracy of their maps. While this development is great for EXTREME map-users, it’s distinctly bad news for an entire sub-genre of B horror movies that hinges on teenagers’ proclivity to getting lost on foggy, foreboding camping trips. The bigger takeaway from this set of updates is the revelation that Maps will soon be available offline for Android, enabling navigation in the absence of an internet service signal. The particulars of the nature and timing of the update process are sure to be fodder for many future SEO meetings.

2. 6.46 Million LinkedIn Passwords Leaked Online – ZDNet

Wednesday brought frightening news for social networkers, as many LinkedIn users learned that their password information was compromised. LinkedIn has been a bit vague about the breadth and details of the hack publicly, but it offered some general information and instructions to its users on the LinkedIn Blog. Essentially, affected users have been notified and directed to change their passwords. Meanwhile, ZDNet has some intriguing coverage of the security breach culled from a Finnish security team that is handling the matter, including speculation that the encrypted passwords were stolen and, at least to some extent, decoded by a Russian hacker who bragged about the attack and welcomed decryption assistance on an internet forum. While everyone would certainly hope that no harm has come of these attacks, it is not wrong to also hope that the head Russian hacker has a quirky, nefarious henchmen — and that the leader of the referenced Finnish security team managing the attack’s aftermath takes his martinis shaken, not stirred.

3. Taking Flight: #twitterbird – Twitter Blog

In significantly less dramatic social networking news, Twitter’s rebranding efforts have led the site to change its ubiquitous blue “Larry” bird logo into… a new blue bird logo. Millions of outraged Twitter users promptly took to the streets in major cities across the globe, engaging in impassioned riots and protests upon learning of the change. Also, nothing in the previous sentence actually happened. According to absolutely legitimate sources, however, one guy in Cambridge, MA looked at Twitter on his phone on Thursday and audibly muttered, “hunh.” In any case, the exhilarating details of the new Twitter bird’s construction are helpfully diagrammed in the video on Twitter’s official blog post about the matter. While I hesitate to even attempt to summarize an event of this magnitude on my own, I will give it a shot: the bird is looking up a little bit now, and it’s made of circles. I’m sure we will all remember exactly where we were when he heard this bit of news.

4. Google Planning New Small Business Service As Part Of Local Revenue Push? – Search Engine Watch

Getting back to Google, the recent absorption of Google Places pages into Google+ Local pages is beginning to look like a small step in a much bigger process of small business promotion on Google’s part. While Google has yet to acknowledge these rumors, the word on the street is that many additional changes are on the way to better serve the interests of smaller, locally based businesses in all regions. The suggested nature of this new plan would include an emphasis on communication between consumers and local businesses, as well as a possible incentive plan rewarding customer loyalty. Given the potential impact of such a new focus for internet marketers, this is one bit of water cooler talk to follow closely in the coming weeks.

5. What’s Apple Going To Announce Next Week? – Gizmodo

Finally, the folks at Gizmodo offer some educated guesses as to the most likely major announcements we can look forward to at Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference, which begins Monday. While the possibility of new hardware models and Apple TV advancements is intriguing, the item to watch closely from an SEO perspective is the likely unveiling of iOS 6. Of particular significance are any details as to Apple’s much ballyhooed new map plans of their own, which have appeared poised for a direct attack on one of Google’s staples. If all of that gets tabled for the conference, however, I think we can all make do with a new MacBook, which is evidently a highly probable presentation point.