Social Bar for your site – from Google Friend Connect

Google Friend Connect had a great start and was seen on every other blog we visit. But after some time bloggers realized that the widget was taking some significant space on their blog. So one by one started removing it, and those widgets stared disappearing from many blogs.
Now Google is smart enough to understand the cause and the Friend Connect Team is here to help.

We’re happy to announce a new feature: the social bar.

social bar - Google Friend Connect

The social bar concentrates many of the basic social functions into a small strip at the top or bottom of your webpage.

Watch the video to see how exactly the Social Bar works:

Here are some of the points which the Friend Connect Team believes the social bar will deliver:

  • On the far left, visitors can join your site, see their identity, and edit their profiles and settings.
  • Your visitors can also delve into your site’s activity stream to see what’s happening throughout your site. It includes links to recent posts made anywhere on your site, helping other visitors quickly find where the hottest conversations are taking place.
  • The wall gadget can host a discussion for the whole site, a section of pages, or each individual page, letting your visitors easily read and leave comments.
  • Lastly, visitors can see the other members of your site, check out their profiles to see how like-minded they really are, and even become friends.

It can also be implemented on blogger( It can be used like any other widgets.

Are you using Friend Connect on your blog? What do you think about these widgets? Have they helped to serve any purpose? Does your readers use it frequently?

Eye Tracking and Mind Mapping by Google

Google recently conducted eye tracking and usability test, and found some interesting results.

Some of the things to note in the research are:-
1. Most users scan only the first 2 results and their focus fades while going through the rest of the results.

2. Google Experience Research team has also found that people evaluate the search results page so quickly that they make most of their decisions unconsciously.

3. People tend to scan the search results in order. They start from the first result and continue down the list until they find a result they consider helpful and click it. You can see in the below image[Heat map] that the users attention moves in “F” shape.
Above heat map like image is called as Golden Triangle by Google. The bigger the dot, longer the person spent time looking at a particular part of the page.

4. The team wanted to incorporate thumbnail images to better represent certain kinds of results. But they had a concern that showing thumbnails of images and videos would effect the higher order results. But the studies showed that the thumbnails did not strongly affect the order of scanning the results and seemed to make it easier for the participants to find the result they wanted. Interestingly enough the thumbnails also seemed to make it easy for people to skip over the results with thumbnails when those results were not relevant to their search.

Here is what Google say about the eye tracking and mind reading:-

To help us get some insight into this split-second decision-making process, we use eye-tracking equipment in our usability labs. This lets us see how our study participants scan the search results page, and is the next best thing to actually being able to read their minds. Of course, eye-tracking does not really tell us what they are thinking, but it gives us a good idea of which parts of the page they are thinking about.

Here is a video clip shows in real time how a participant involved in the study scanned the page. That’s how fast the eyes move when scanning a page

Google also use this eye tracking and usability test on Google News and Image Search. And Google also uses interviews, field studies and live experiments, to compliment and to support its eye tracking and usability test results.
These results can be made use of properly by web publishers for the placement of ads and banners. But interestingly enough, Google did not mentioned about the usability of their CPC ads on the SERP(Search Engine Result Page), in their eye tracking tests. But we know that, Google runs a serious of tests before making any changes for their ad placement and the background of those ads etc. So its always ideal that we run similar tests on our blog and know which part of our blog receives more visibility or user attention. By knowing these things we can easily get the attention of more audience.
Source: GoogleBlog

Code To Show 125X125 Ad Banner On WordPress Sidebar

During the early days of this blog, we had some problem in showing adsense ads of 125×125 format on our sidebar. We wanted to have four 125×125 ad banners(as shown in below image), but we were unable to align it properly. After some research and getting help from online friends we could overcome this problem. Now we are sharing this, in order to save some of your time, who may also be facing the same problem.

Advertise here

Its easy to show image ads(direct advertisers ad banner) in the side bar. But if we want to show ads using some adnetwork(Ex:- Adsense, Adbrite, Bidvertiser, BuySellAds etc), its bit difficult to properly align the ads(as shown in above image).

First the simple one. If you want to show some ad banners(which does not use JavaScript or any other scripts). You can use the following code:

<!-- insert ad blocks instead of fake images -->
<a rel="nofollow" href="destination-url">
<img style="margin: 0 15px" height="125" width="125" 
 border="0" title="insert title" alt="insert title" />

<a rel="nofollow" href="destination-url">
<img height="125" width="125" 
border="0" title="insert title" alt="insert title" />
<a rel="nofollow" href="destination-url">
<img style="margin: 0 15px" height="125" width="125" 
 border="0" title="insert title" alt="insert title" />
<a rel="nofollow" href="destination-url">
<img height="125" width="125" 
border="0" title="insert title" alt="insert title" />

But the same can’t be applied when you want to show some JavaScript enabled ads(Ex:- Adsense, Adbrite, Bidvertiser, BuySellAds etc) in above mentioned style.
To do that, add below code to your style.css

.bigblock {
  width: auto;
  height: auto;
  padding: 15px;

.left-top {
  width: 125px;
  height: 125px;
  background: url(images/125x125.jpg) no-repeat;
  margin-bottom: 10px;

.left-bottom {
  width: 125px;
  height: 125px;
  background: url(images/125x125.jpg) no-repeat;

.right-top {
  float: right;
  width: 125px;
  height: 125px;
  background: url(images/125x125.jpg) no-repeat;


.right-bottom {
  float: right;
  width: 125px;
  height: 125px;
    background: url(images/125x125.jpg) no-repeat;


.clearblock {
  width: 100%;
  clear: both;

Now insert below code wherever you want to show the ads(Ex:- sidebar)

<div class="bigblock">
<div class="right-top">Ad code</div>
<div class="left-top">Ad code</div>
<div class="clearblock"></div>
<div class="right-top">Ad code</div>
<div class="left-bottom">Ad code</div>

That’s it, you are done. You can play with above coding to customize it further to blend with your blog design.
Hope it helps, atleast for some of you.

Google Bus on Indian Roads

Google announced the launch of Internet Bus Project[on February 3, 2009] – a mobile bus designed to showcase the benefits of Internet to the people across the cities of Tamil Nadu[A state in India].
Google India Product Manager Prem Ramaswami said, “It is like a pilot study (for us). More than 19 per cent of Tamilians prefer Google Tamil for accessing the Internet and that is also one of the reasons to launch the bus project from Tamil Nadu,”.

Below video is really inspiring:

Its mainly aimed at people who are not aware of the power of Internet. This projects main aim is to showcase how the Internet can make everyday life simple through services like search, email, social networking, maps and others. The Internet Bus will be loaded with useful and informative content in English and Tamil.

Prem Ramaswami also told that this was like a pilot project for them and based on the response they get from this project, they would continue it in other states as well.

Follow Google Bus route:
03 Feb Chennai
05 Feb Vellore
06 Feb Krishnagiri
07 Feb Salem
11 Feb Erode
12 Feb Tiruppur
14 Feb Coimbatore

18 Feb Dindigul
19 Feb Madurai
23 Feb Tirunelveli
25 Feb Nagercoil
27 Feb Tuticorin
02 Mar Pudukkottai
03 Mar Tiruchirappalli

06 Mar Thanjavur
08 Mar Kumbakonam
10 Mar Neyveli
12 Mar Cuddalore
13 Mar Tiruvannamalai

If you are located in any of these locations or near by, then make sure you visit the bus and get the information. Do not expect any advance information, as this project is focused on people who do not know more about internet.

For more on photo updates: visit Picasa.
To track the route and for further info about the project keep watching Internet Bus Project.

How Much Is Your Tweet Worthy ?

Some time back, I wrote about a company called TwittAd that lets you auction off ads on your Twitter profile page. Now, the company is sponsoring WhatsYourTweetWorth. A site where you enter your Twitter username, and it tells you how much your Tweets are worth based on how many followers you have and how often you participate in conversation with others in twitter.

I don’t know about its accuracy. We got a 33.41$ per month. that’s not bad, considering the amount of time I spend on twitter. This number will go high over time, if we get more number of followers and if we participate in twitter actively.

It also seems to take into consideration, how many people we are following. So I don’t know how accurate this tool can be!

As Twittad deals with advertising on users Twitter profile, helps Twittads publishers to get a rough estimation of how much money they can expect from their twitter profile in the auction.

I wonder, what would happen if they manage to get advertisers who can pay such price to advertise on a single page i.e., Twitter profile pages.

Actually we are not writing to analyze its accuracy, but we just wanted to share with you all that such a tool also exists.

Are your tweets too costly? 🙂 Follow me and drop me a line @technotip

Using #tags[HashTags] in Twitter

For those of you who do not know twitter here is a video to explain Twitter in simple, plain English.

Now a days you might have seen bloggers around the world announcing twitter contests, wherein the person who want to participate in the contest has to follow the blogger and tweet one of the message to his followers, like:

#200giveaway Just entered the $200 giveaway contest. You can win by following @technotip and retweet.

Ever wondered how they track your tweets?
There are two methods widely used to track them.
Hash tags and Search.

Search is simple and most of you know about it. If not, then use Tweetag to search for any keyword being discussed by twitter members. To easy the job Tweetag itself tracks and displays the 40 most frequent topics being discussed on Twitter.

What is a #Hashtag?
Tweeples using “#“signs in front of “Keywords” or “Groups” and “Locations“ [This works almost similar to the tags in flickr and other services.]
For Example: recently Thin Air Summit held a conference and called their Hashtag #TAS08 for Thin Air Summit 2008.

These so called # groups are called “Hashtags“ .

Hashtags by definition are used to create real time track records of creating groups on twitter. Placing the # sign in front of keywords or targeted groups, makes it easier to track all conversations in the twitter time line via search.
The hashtag (#hashtag) provides a way for a tweet to be directed at a group and disseminated to people in that group.

Now assume that you have created a (hashtag)group #Google. If you search for keyword Google, you will get thousands of results. But if you search for #Google, you will get the messages of your group only. So this is a big advantage in tracking the tweets of your group.

I recommend using either one tag at the very beginning or at the very end in most cases and try not to put tags in the middle of the tweet – for easy and accurate tracking.

And the popular services that help you to track hashtagged tweets are and twittgroups.

To get started:
Follow @hashtags on Twitter. They will follow you back automatically, and your hashtags will be tracked in

Its a good feature in twitter, but if used extensively it will surly spoil the twitter environment, by making it look spamy. And some spammers can also take advantage of it, by using some automated scripts(which work using twitter API) to post frequent hashtagged tweets.

You can follow us on twitter @technotip.