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Once known as the first female engineer and the 20th employee to be hired by Google, is today the CEO of Yahoo. On 15th July 2012, Marissa Mayer resigned from being the Vice President of Local, Maps and Location Services at Google and the following day joined Yahoo as the next promising CEO of the worldwide known corporation.

Mayer, now 37 years of age,  was born in Wausau, Wisconsin, to Margaret Mayer (an art teacher) and Michael Mayer (an engineer). She graduated with honours from Standford University with a B.S in symbolic system and M.S in computer science.

Here is the press release:

Yahoo! Appoints Marissa Mayer Chief Executive Officer

SUNNYVALE, Calif., July 16, 2012

Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) today announced that it has appointed Marissa Mayer as President, Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board of Directors effective July 17, 2012.  The appointment of Ms. Mayer, a leading consumer internet executive, signals a renewed focus on product innovation to drive user experience and advertising revenue for one of the world’s largest consumer internet brands, whose leading properties include Yahoo! Finance, Yahoo! Sports, Yahoo! Mobile, Yahoo! Mail, and Yahoo! Search.

Mayer said, “I am honored and delighted to lead Yahoo!, one of the internet’s premier destinations for more than 700 million users.  I look forward to working with the Company’s dedicated employees to bring innovative products, content, and personalized experiences to users and advertisers all around the world.”

Most recently, Mayer was responsible for Local, Maps, and Location Services for Google, the company’s suite of local and geographical products including Google Maps, Google EarthZagat, Street View, and local search, for desktop and mobile.  Mayer joined Google in 1999 as its 20th employee and led efforts for many of Google’s most recognizable products, including the development of its flagship search product and iconic homepage for over 10 years.  Mayer managed some of Google’s most successful innovations, launching more than 100 features and products including image, book and product search, toolbar, iGoogle, Google News, and Gmail – creating much of the “look and feel” of the Google user experience.

Yahoo! Co-Founder David Filo said, “Marissa is a well-known, visionary leader in user experience and product design and one of Silicon Valley’s most exciting strategists in technology development.  I look forward to working with her to enhance Yahoo’s product offerings for our over 700 million unique monthly visitors.”

“The Board of Directors unanimously agreed that Marissa’s unparalleled track record in technology, design, and product execution makes her the right leader for Yahoo! at this time of enormous opportunity,” said Fred Amoroso, Chairman of the Board of Directors.

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Ms Mayer, you’ve done wonders as a Googirl. You’ve set high hopes for all Yahoo fans and given the organisation a new reason to compete (and maybe win) against Google. We look forward to what Yahoo has in store for us!

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Since its June 28 launch, we’ve found it difficult to open a browser without seeing articles, posts, status updates and Tweets discussing the countless merits and drawbacks of Google+.

Once commentators recovered from questioning the world’s need for yet another major social network, the discussion inevitably came to focus on the Facebook/Google+ battle, or, Will Google+ Kill Facebook?

Not likely, say some critics.  Facebook already has 750 million users, many of whom were social media newbies and not necessarily open to another network, what with the inevitable concerns over privacy, time commitment and social status brought on by each new sign up.

When it comes to social media, we at Mustard are willing devotees, making use of its personal, educational and professional benefits. Frankly, social media is as entertaining as it is useful and its capacity for connecting people is huge (whatever Malcolm Gladwell says). However, even we are able to weigh in on the Google+ anxiety debate.

Without getting too Orwellian, there’s comfort to be found in storing personal data across at least two megacorporations. With Gmail inboxes already holding so much information and Google’s previous privacy problems, Facebook’s independence counts for something.

Perhaps more worrying to some users is the status anxiety brought on by social networking, in which others’ profiles (therefore, lives) look WAY! MORE! EXCITING! than your own.

Then there’s the unease over time commitment, which is inevitably and contradictorily felt when one spends either too much time on social networks or too little. Leaving lengthy periods between logins can lead to such dire consequences as missing an event to which you’ve been invited or, horror of horrors, the ability to un-tag yourself in a compromising (read: unattractive) photo.

Similar concerns apply to professional use of social media. Companies who wish to use social media – and let’s face it, that should be everyone these days – should be prepared to update regularly (though the definition of this is flexible). As we all know from personal experience, accessing a company’s page only to find old or outdated information often leads to frustration and a quick getaway.

So, back to Google+. With an estimated 10 million signed up in its first two weeks (and an expectation for that figure to double by the end of this week), Google+ will obviously be in the news for some time yet. Will it eclipse Facebook? Only time will tell. Though in the meantime, let’s not worry about it.

As Google’s dominance as a search engine is nigh on absolute, the challenge for the marketer’s of Bing is (aptly) to communicate its relevance into a market place happily served by the ubiquitous magical white page of search results.

Inherently, there is nothing wrong with Google search. Most times we find what we want in seconds – usually within a couple of clicks.  In fact, Google’s dominance is both perception and reality. They have made a business out of being a technical think tank and attracting some of the best minds on the planet to work for them.  For Bing to challenge them on “better accuracy” would be somewhat on the kamikaze side.

So the team at Bing have clearly sought to make a weakness out of the search giant’s best known feature benefit – its hundreds and thousands of its returned search results.  The attribute that best communicates this idea is Bing’s use of a 5+ page pagination for search results compared to Google’s 10+.  It’s subtle. As is the idea.

Targetting the category of people who have a vague idea of what they’re looking for definitely can extends the usage occasion for search to include the bored or the brainless – and lets face it, we all feel a little like we need someone else to give us inspiration and directions on tedious search tasks sometimes.

But it is disappointing. The marketing is slick, and the stock archive footage is very pretty.  But the message is logical, not emotional and therefore, wallpaper.

Furthermore, the adage that actions speak louder than words is made abundently clear to anyone who, based on the initial promise of a “difference” are led to try the service.  Beyond the optimistic and vibrant homepage, Bing’s SERPs are styled in the familiar Google-esque blue, green and grey link palette. With the core content looking so similar to its major competitor, surely Bing has committed the ultimate cardinal sin of not living up to its promise of “difference”, and instead, simply joined the masses of Google replicants battling it out for the <20% of search traffic that isn’t Google initiated.

When we learned earlier this year that we’d “all” be getting an early tax payment to help avoid a recession by stimulating the economy, the social networks were all aflutter.

In the past few weeks, nary a day goes by where we haven’t seen someone tweet, post or nettalk about their stimulus package, receiving stimulus, being stimulated.. (oh the joys of double entendres… its so netgen). In fact, the (now) misnamed “Rudd’s $950 Stimulus Package” group on Facebook still has over 41,500 fans!

So it is for this reason that I want to personally shake the hand of the person who crafted the meme “Stimulus Package.” Because by harnessing this irresistable phrase and propagating its usage in the windfall context, we may just have managed to talk ourselves out of a technical recession.

Is this the way youll be communicating later this year?

Is this the way you'll be communicating later this year?

At the same time that Microsoft got their bing bling on, Google announced the personal communication and collaboration tool which they have branded, the instantly marketable moniker –  “Google Wave”.

In typical Google tradition, Wave will be open source for developers to experiment with and create addons and apps for. It will also be written for HTML 5.

Wave is a mashup of email, instant messaging, social networking and a wiki.  In addition to its social application, the Google Wave team are also hoping the wave will catch on in the business community as an application for collaborative documentation.

It’s also a local innovation, engineered by the same team that developed Google Maps out of Sydney.   Go Aussie.

With a suite of innovative features and functionality, the in-browser application offers as its irresistable publicity proposition, “Wave will be the new Email”.

Much has been written of the supposed extinction of email particularly in the age of social networking and instant messaging. However, after viewing the developer demo, we are prepared to catch Wave-fever, for 5 main reasons.

  1. Firstly, it’s faster than email – as it appears to be based on instant messaging conventions and user-experience principles.
  2. Secondly, every “wave” can be edited, viewed or responded to by multiple invited recipient simultaneously – also in visible real time.
  3. Thirdly, there is private messaging built in, as well as permission and view setting options meaning that each collaborators Wave experiences will be uniquely their own.
  4. Fourthly, each “Wave” moves to the top with each update contributed by any of the recipients of the “Wave”. This means instead of lots and lots of communications, you just have the most recently updated/relevant version.
  5. And then, there’s the “playback” feature which allows you to see each wave, update by update on a scroller-based timeline.

And so on.

As an in-browser application, Wave will undoubtedly become a major reason for Google’s  influence in the inevitable global cloud computing ecosystem of the future.

But is it the category killer for email – a 40 year old paradigm?  Is it more hype than hero? Or, to add a bit of paranoia to the mix, did the product take its name and inspiration from a young-adult literary reference?

We can’t wait to see what happens!

picture-31With all the recent media attention devoted to Twitter, many a conversation starts these days with the inevitable exasperated cry of “I don’t get it”.

And I really don’t blame them. After all, with so many communication channels to follow, recruit for and maintain it’s any wonder that we’re all a little too fatigued about all this “next big digital” rhetoric to spend the energy to investigate for ourselves.

So when I explain Twitter to would be noobs I always start by telling them it’s NOT a social networking platform. I tell them it’s a publishing platform. I tell them that the Twitterverse represents the world’s biggest newsfeed where the news of the world is aired in real time from multiple perspectives simultaneously. I tell them it’s the closest thing to surfing the stream of human consciousness available. I tell them it’s a more up to date search tool for attitudes. I tell them it’s something to be fearful of and something to be awed by. But most of all, I tell them to experience it for themselves. After all, some things are always better experienced than explained.