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Digital News Roundup: June 24, 2010

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This week, Internet traffic soared to new heights following the United States’ dramatic win at the World Cup, LinkedIn added new features to up engagement, Google garnered buzz thanks to speculation that it’s working on a proprietary music service and Bing rolled out a new Entertainment page in addition to some key updates to its iPhone app.  Read our full summary below and be sure to check out this week’s POV on SMS Marketing if you haven’t already. It’s the third installment in our summer-long mobile series — and its completely free to read and download.

Report: U.S.-Algeria Game Might Have Set a New Internet Traffic Record

Mashable reports that Wednesday’s stunning World Cup game between the U.S. and Algeria – in which the Americans won in dramatic fashion, advancing to the second round by a heroic goal in the 91st minute – just might have set a new record for Internet traffic.

Mashable came to this conclusion by monitoring Akamai’s Net Usage Index, which tracks visitors per minute on 100+ news sites in the Akamai network. Following Landon Donovan’s epic goal in the game’s final moments, Mashable says that traffic spiked to 11.2 million visitors per minute – a figure greater than the previous high which occurred after the 2008 presidential election.

These figures aren’t yet set in stone, but by early estimation it looks like matchup will go down in history as one of the most exciting sporting events – as well as one of the most highly-trafficked time periods – of recent times.

LinkedIn Adds Likes, Follows and Discussions to Group Pages

LinkedIn, a social network which has just over 70 million users (compared to Facebook’s more than 400 million), often gets forgotten in the social space, but the network which prides itself on being the place for professionals to network online is making strides toward becoming a more engaging platform.

Over the next few weeks, LinkedIn will begin to add features to its Group pages in an effort to encourage conversation and make the platform more engaging. In the past, LinkedIn Group users had the option to either “Start a Discussion” or “Submit News,” but now there is a single comment box to publish original content and “Like,” “Pass,” and “Comment” functions that allow users to contribute to existing conversations and comments. LinkedIn Group users also have the ability to “Follow” other people in the group and receive e-mail updates on their activity.

LinkedIn hopes this change will not only increase engagement, but also increase the quality of the engagement taking place. While an overnight change is highly unlikely, marketers could see an increase in dialogue about their brands on the platform, which could require greater community management and brand monitoring efforts.

Is Google Getting into the Music Game?

According to the Wall Street Journal, Google is readying a music download service (similar to iTunes) for release later this year. The service will be tied to the Google search engine and will be offered through an online subscription service.

The article, based on interviews with unnamed sources “close” to the project, goes on to say that phase one of the service will be rolling out a download store from which Google searchers can find and purchase music. A broader second phase, according to insiders, will involve launching a cloud-based service compatible with Android-equipped devices and allow mobile users to stream music directly from the web without storing the files on their devices.

Google search currently incorporates music results through iLike, Rhapsody and Pandora.

Apple, the presently unrivaled market leader when it comes to music download services, this year bought and subsequently shut down the online music service – a move that led many to believe it was working on its own cloud-based music service.

Bing’s Big Week: New Entertainment Features and App Updates

Microsoft’s Bing, which recently celebrated its first birthday, rolled out several new features this week, starting with a brand new Entertainment section catering to the more than 75 percent of people who use search to help find this type of content online (stats per Bing).

The new offering steps up Bing’s ability to deliver content to searchers when it comes to movies, TV, music and gaming – and features include:

  • Movies: Reviews, theater directions via Bing Maps and movie buzz via Twitter
  • TV: Full-length episodes with in-guide information
  • Music: One-stop location for finding lyrics; limited streaming music via Zume; photos, videos and tour information
  • Gaming: Information on 35K+ games, including reviews, cheats and walkthroughs; 100 of the most popular games – each of which you can play within the Bing interface

You can check out this new experience at

Bing also announced some search and social updates to its iPhone app this week. The new features include enhanced search functionality (greater detail and instant answers), the integration of social search results from Twitter and Facebook and a camera view that can be used to scan products and barcodes for product pricing information. Each of these seem to align with Bing’s desire to offer a next era experience with greater capabilities when it comes to social and mobile search.

-360i Account Coordinator Katie Wall contributed to this report. You can follow her on Twitter @GoKTGo.