Shutterbug Quickly find and share information on the web with KwiClick Firefox plug-in

Posted by maggie.hunsucker September 8, 2009

kwiClick logAre you a web multi-tasker – the type who has 10 browser windows open, constantly searching, sharing, and publishing information?

Then, you’re a prime candidate for a Firefox plug-in called KwiClick.  KwiClick helps you find and share information on the web.  Once installed, you can access KwiClick by right-clicking a term on a web page or by launching the application from your Firefox toolbar.   Either way, feed KwiClick a search term, and it will pull results from various services, including:

  • Google Search
  • Yahoo Search
  • Windows Live
  • YouTube
  • Vimeo
  • Wikipedia
  • Twitter
  • FriendFeed
  • Flickr
  • Google Maps
  • Technorati
  • Amazon

You can preview results (web pages, comments, images, and video) directly in KwiClick.   Choose to favorite a result, email it to a friend, or publish to your social network of choice (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and more).  There’s also a nifty pin feature which holds the KwiClick application open as you toggle browser windows.   It’s a nice option to have if you want to segment search activities to the KwiClick window and continue working in your Firefox browser.

kwiclick firefox plug-in

In one way or another, we all rely on web search, whether it’s as simple as finding the answer to a question or finding the perfect image for a website.  Here’s a product that helps you search faster and diversifies search results.  It’s free, and if you’re a Firefox user, it will only improve your online experience.  Give KwiClick a whirl and let us know what you think.

Firefox is the web browser of choice for many people, thanks in part to a large library of add-on functionality.

KwiClick is similar to our very own Lizzer, but without the ability to link or embed the content you find. We think there is room for both tools in the market. Lizzer is geared more towards the web publisher, where as KwiClick is for the web surfer.


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  Form follows function Create an elegant survey and embed it in your site with Google Forms

Posted by maggie.hunsucker September 4, 2009

google_logoSurveys are an easy way to let customers weigh in on your products and offer up new ideas.  We’d probably use them more if price wasn’t a factor.  I mean, paying for every question and survey participant kinda deters you from using a tool to its full potential.

We recommend taking a look at Google Forms.   This data collection tool just got a makeover, making it less clunky and more user-friendly.  Not to mention, it’s free.

If you’re not familiar, Forms is part of Google Docs.  We’ve discussed the virtues of Google’s whole productivity suite in the past – it’s web-based, easy to use, and the fact that it’s free is definitely worth mentioning again.   Prior to the upgrade, Forms was a very basic offering.  You’d create questions and input fields, share a link with survey participants, and watch as the live form populated a spreadsheet.   Simple.  Efficient.  Boring.

Now, creating (and taking) a survey with Google Forms is fun.   The interface is cleaner, with customization options within the form builder (e.g. multiple choice questions, supporting text to explain a question, etc).  You can also add a theme to your survey, which makes for a better presentation than a plain, black and white screen.  Google offers up a library of 60+ designs to choose from.

When you’re finished formatting the survey, you can share via email, direct link, or embed the form in your website or blog.  As survey results come in, you can view the data in real time, either through a Google Spreadsheet or in graph summary.  It would be nice if you could put the graph on your site, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Feedback is a crucial ingredient in any marketing strategy. What Google has done here is make their simple form service a real contender for your survey needs.   You’re getting the same functionality and frills as a paid solution, with no penalties for success.

Google Labs is like Google's playground for new products and feature updates. There's a whole section devoted to enhancements of their core products: Gmail, Documents, Calendar, Toolbar, etc.

The Digital Marketing Standard was a survey of over 100 top marketing executives to get their take on digital marketing and how they've adapted their strategy and workforce for the digital age.


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  Keeping it real Find relevant, real-time search results with CrowdEye’s CrowdRank search

Posted by maggie.hunsucker September 3, 2009

crowdeye-logo real-time search twitterReal-time search is an excellent way to stay on top of news, trends, and social chatter.  Unfortunately, the most au courant results are not always the most relevant, as anyone who has ever sifted through Twitter tweets knows.

CrowdEye hopes to change all that by introducing the first real-time search ranking algorithm, CrowdRank.  CrowdRank brings structure – quality control, if you will – to real-time search.  Of course, when we say “real-time”, we really mean social search.   Services like CrowdEye tap into Twitter’s API and display results based on the most recent tweets.

With the addition of CrowdRank, you can now filter those results by relevancy.  CrowdRank looks at several things to determine rank – followers, retweets, whether or not an account is verified, etc – then assigns a number 1-100 to the Twitter user.   This is their CrowdRank.  The higher the rank, the higher they appear in CrowdEye’s search results.

crowdrank real-time search twitter social media search

CrowdRank also serves up the most popular links with your results.  If you’re less interested in the conversation around the news story, this is great option.   To top it off, if you sign into CrowdEye with your Twitter account, you can retweet any of the search results or follow a user directly from the page.

CrowdEye also offers suggestions for Twitter users to follow. Enter a search term, and the service narrows down the field and ranks each user with the CrowdRank algorithm.

While Google and Bing duke it out (and Yahoo bows out to do some serious soul-searching), real-time search engines are coming into their own. Will they ever replace traditional contextual search? Probably not, but it depends on what you're looking for. For example, if you want the inside scoop on DragonCon (this weekend in Atlanta), CrowdEye makes sense.


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  Head in the clouds Manage small business CRM activities with Salesforce Contact Manager Edition

Posted by maggie.hunsucker September 2, 2009

salesforce_logoIn Ollie 180, we commented that most CRM software is geared towards the enterprise.   Small businesses were either paying for too much or left to their own devices.   Perhaps, we spoke too soon.

Salesforce just rolled out Contact Manager Edition, a lite beer version of their popular CRM cloud application.  Contact Manager is designed with the small guy in mind, giving him the essential tools for collecting, managing, and capitalizing on leads.  Here’s the highlights:

  • Contact & Account management
  • Email Integration (Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo, etc)
  • Standard & customized reporting
  • Google Apps integration

What’s great about this feature set is it works with a small outfit’s existing CRM practices.   The majority of your contact and lead information is probably stashed in your email; automatic email integration means that data can be stored in the cloud and accessible by any team member.  If you’re using Google Docs to manage a sales pipeline or Calendar for your appointments (btw – highly recommended this), you have the added bonus of tying these into your CRM software.

Salesforce Contact Manager will run you $9/month for 1-2 user licenses, and there’s a 14-day free trial.   We think Contact Manager is a good choice on its own merits, but the fact that you can upgrade your package as your company and CRM needs grow is a real selling point.  Salesforce is an established player with a robust platform, not to mention, a whole suite of on-demand applications through their AppExchange program (e.g. Adwords, Facebook, Vertical Response, and Hoovers mash-ups).

Cloud computing refers to a style of computing where users access common software or applications from the web. Software is installed on a network server, so there's no hardware or maintenance required for the individual computers that use the cloud. is Salesforce's open development platform. To date, over 100,000 applications have been developed to complement Salesforce functionality. Several companies have found that opening their technology to the public allows for innovation and new product development at no cost to them.


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  Insert Scotty joke here Exchange virtual business cards with any phone or computer with the beamME iPhone App

Posted by maggie.hunsucker September 1, 2009

beamME logoVirtual business cards have been around for awhile.   iPhone apps may be paving the way (an idea we discussed in It’s all in the reflexes), but how do you exchange information with someone who doesn’t have the same phone as you?

BeamME might have the answer.   This iPhone app lets you “beam” a virtual business card – and more – to any SMS or email-enabled device.  This includes Blackberry, Palm, and Android phones, as well as Mac and PC computers. Instead of reinventing the wheel (or the platform), beamME takes advantage of the popular vCard format.  This means you can sync beamME cards with your existing address book and CRM software.

BeamME comes loaded with features too.  You can create more than one vCard and even exchange other people’s vCards.  If you’ve ever had to pass along a vendor’s information or recommend a colleague, you can imagine how handy this would be.   You can also tag your contacts with the iPhone’s built-in geo-locator.  Can’t remember where you met someone?  Want to make the most of a sales trip by hitting all the leads in a certain area?  BeamME tells you when, where, and how you met someone and creates a contact map for you.

BeamME may be a front-runner in the virtual business card app market.  We’re not the betting type, but where others are limited or exclusive in nature, BeamME is universal.  The only drawback is the subscription fee.  The app, itself, costs $1.99 to download, but you have to pay $4.99/month ($29.99/year) for beamME support and services.

BeamMe has a semi-open API (developers can access it but have to request first). While third parties can't make their own products or applications (which makes this open API a novel concept), they can offer improvements or build new functionality for BeamME.

BeamME offers a lot of customization options. Within the app, you can edit your card or tailor your greeting for the recipient. You can also create a more dynamic online version of your card that includes images and links to social media profiles.


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