Inside Google’s Secret Drone-Delivery Program

A man named Neil Parfitt is standing in a field on a cattle ranch outside Warwick, Australia. A white vehicle appears above the trees, a tiny plane a bit bigger than a seagull. It glides towards Parfitt, pitches upwards to a vertical position, and hovers near him, a couple hundred feet in the air. From its belly, a package comes tumbling downward, connected by a thin line to the vehicle itself. Right before the delivery hits the ground, it slows, hitting the earth with a tap. The delivery slows, almost imperceptibly, just before it hits the ground, hardly kicking up any dust. A small rectangular module on the end of the line detaches the payload, and ascends back up the vehicle, locking into place beneath the nose. As the wing returns to flying posture and zips back to its launch point half a mile away, Parfitt walks over to the package, opens it up, and extracts some treats for his dogs.

The Australian test flight and 30 others like it conducted in mid-August are the culmination of the first phase of Project Wing, a secret drone program that’s been running for two years at Google X, the company’s whoa-inducing, long-range research lab.

Video: Project Wing

Read more at theatlantic.com

How to Earn Links with Google’s New Business Photos

If you’ve ever used Google’s Street View technology and been surprised by the alien relaxing by the side of the road or the two-legged white cat casually strolling down the avenue, you know what kind of fun you might have now that the same technology is available for business use. And we decided that’s exactly what we were going to do.

First of all we had to hire a trusted Google photographer or agency. Then when we knew what date they were coming we staged our offices to provide puzzle’s, objects, images and other creative gimmicks. By carefully planning our virtual tour, we created something that feels more like a virtual reality game, than a boring photo shoot, and that will also add excitement to our social media campaigns.

Read more at searchenginejournal.com

How Google Map Hackers Can Destroy a Business at Will

He was alerted to that possibility when one of his regulars phoned the restaurant. “A customer called me and said, ‘Why are you closed on Saturday, Sunday and Monday? What’s going on?’” Bertagna says.

It turned out that Google Places, the search giant’s vast business directory, was misreporting the Serbian Crown’s hours. Anyone Googling Serbian Crown, or plugging it into Google Maps, was told incorrectly that the restaurant was closed on the weekends, Bertagna says. For a destination restaurant with no walk-in traffic, that was a fatal problem.

Read more at wired.com

Inside Google’s Big Plan to Race Amazon to Your Door

Though Google over the years had experimented with letting consumers buy goods with the help of services such as Google Wallet and Google Checkout, it accelerated this strategy in 2013 with Shopping Express. The service lets shoppers buy things from local retail stores through Google, which then delivers them to consumers from the physical retail store on the same or next day.

“You can very much expect that we are putting a lot of money into this and we’re excited and willing to sustain that investment over time as this gets going,” said Tom Fallows, head of Google Shopping Express.

Read more at recode.net

Client Focus: Dan Porter Motors Dickinson, ND

Dan Porter Motors in Dickinson, ND sells new and used vehicles. Their new car offering includes Honda, Toyota, and Scion. Recently they moved from a 64-year old building into a newly built, modern dealership. It has features you expect in a modern dealership, like clean and bright showroom, parts and service. Also maybe some features you don’t expect, like a drive-in customer delivery bay they take great pride in. It allows them to walk-around and explain the features of a vehicle in a private, climate controlled area. Rain or shine, hot or cold, you’ll always enjoy those first moments with your new vehicle in comfort.

Dickinson’s proximity to ND’s oil boom means it’s a city with a lot of new people, new businesses, and new buildings. Google Maps Google Street View | Trusted 360 helps Dan Porter showcase once if the nicest of all the new buildings.

Here are before and after screenshots of the sidebar information presented in Google search:

dan-porter-before-after

Client Focus: All City Auto Fargo, ND

All City Auto is a used car dealer at 4090 Main Ave in Fargo, ND with a large inventory of vehicles to meet any budget. They have a bright and welcoming sales office they were eager to showcase. Grab a flavored coffee, tea or hot chocolate from their single cup coffee maker, or relax in leather seating. Children are welcomed too, with a sweet treat or activity.

The staff at All City Auto is tech savvy, and were the first in line to request a Google Maps Street View | Trusted 360 photo shoot. They take pride in the appearance of their business, and their web presence. Now it shows in their Google Search results, and in the ranking of important key words.all-city-auto

Google Business Photos May Correlate With Higher Local Search Ranking

Up until now, when a client asked if Google Business Photos had any influence on their search rankings, I just kind of mumbled something to the effect of, “Usually when Google rolls out a new service, the companies that adopt the new technology do better in search rankings. And it can’t hurt, so yes, let’s try it out.” But do Google Business Photos help with local search rankings? Google’s been mum, and I haven’t been able to find any research on the matter. So I decided to test if there was a correlation between adoption of Google Business Photos and local search rankings.

We found that (for the most part), sites that ranked the highest in local search had also adopted Google Business Photos.

Read more at moz.com

Google Street View moves inside businesses

Google’s Street View panoramic images of streets are moving indoors. The search engine is now posting panoramic views of the interiors of businesses.

You probably remember when Google sent vans to drive through every street around town, taking pictures of the outside of businesses and homes. Now you’ll be able to see inside some businesses with the same panoramic technology.

Read more at nbc12.com