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Posts Tagged ‘Mobile phone’

Ireland’s Lost and Found Dogs, Cats & Other Pets Now on Google+

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

In our continuing drive for complete Web domination  for our lost and found pet listings we are happy to announce that you can now find  our official page on Google+ (or Google Plus if you prefer).

A screenshot of Lost & Found Pets Ireland on Google Plus

Our engagement with Google’s social networking efforts has been relatively sparce up until now.  We did have a Google Buzz account to which we piped our listing Tweets and we also had a dedicated Google Wave, I even went so far as to code a bot to automatically respond to listing requests from our Wave participants but both these services have since been axed by Google.

However, it looks like Google+ is here to stay, particularly with the fundamental seachange in search to a social model.  Now when users who are logged into Google (including GMail users as well as those using Google Plus) conduct searches, the results they see are increasingly influenced by the activities of others in their social circles that Google is aware of such as friends, family and colleagues, in an attempt to increase personal relevance of the results.  Much like the Facebook ‘Like’ button, the Google +1 button aims to fuel a recommendation engine for the entire Internet to make its search results, more relevant and therefore more useful to its users, and more users equals more advertising revenue for them. To put it another way, if one of your friends ‘+1′s a particular web page or site, you are much more likely to see it in your results than if your friend had not ‘recommended it’.

So, what does this mean for Lost and Found Pets Ireland and more especially the visibility of the listings here in Google search results.  Well, as with our listings on Facebook, in order to maximise the reach of the listings in people’s searches and their news streams on Google Plus, those who list here should ‘like’ and ‘+1′ their own listings and make a concerted effort to get their family and friends to do likewise in order to get the listing out there to the maximum extent possible.  All pages on the site, including the listing pages, include a ‘+1′ button as well as a ‘like’ facility and I cannot stress highly enough the importance of using these.  While I have done my best to automate the distribution of listings around the web via our networks, the change in search I spoke of above now gives YOU the power to make the absolute most of the technology.

Similar to Facebook Fan Pages, this week, Google opened up facilities to businesses and organisations to create Google+ Pages.  As mentioned above, users = advertising revenue for both Facebook and Google and therefore it is difficult to imagine that Google will not use its substantial lead over Facebook in providing search to promote its own social network by favouring its own ‘pages’ in search results and that is basically why we are now on Google+.  Its also worth noting that our presence on there makes accessing the listings from mobile devices somewhat easier for folk as there are Google+ apps now for all the main phones out there and these will compliment our own mobile site.

At the moment, I am posting listings there manually while I await Google to provide a facility to automate that process as Facebook have.  With on average around 10 listings per day, this is obviously quite a time consuming activity and  I will be closely monitoring (both in terms of user engagement with our Google+ page (whether folk are adding it to their circles and +1′ing the listings & site and in terms of performance of listings in the Google search results) whether the extra effort is really worth it or if I should simply wait until an automated solution is possible so again, you basically get to decide on the resources I put into this.

I’m curious to hear your thoughts on Google+ and any ideas you may have to make it even more useful for folk using the site.  Just drop a comment below.

The Poster Child for Social Petworking – Literally!

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

A preview of our offline promo posterI know, I know, the post titles are getting worse but bear with me because this one is to let you all know that following a conversations over on the Facebook page, I have just uploaded a poster which you can download and print for distribution in your local area to help us promote our service in the ‘real’ world.

The poster is in Adobe Acrobat PDF format and will produce an A4 sized poster when printed.  In the unlikely event you don’t already have Adobe Acrobat already installed on your computer, you can download a copy for free from here.

Possible venues for you to get the poster displayed in would be your local vets, groomers, butchers, convenience stores, hairdressers and any other community noticeboards you know of.

Let us all know where you put yours via the comments facility below.

Our Lost & Found Pet Posters Get High-Tech with QR Codes

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

Over the course of the past 6 months it has become apparent that while all the tech and social media facilities for sharing listings are all very well and good, often the most effective means of getting pets reunited with owners is via the traditional lost and found pet poster.  Indeed it was the way I managed to locate the owner of the dog I found myself which inspired this website.

Since we launched we have offered a facility on the site to print out a custom lost or found pet poster you can distribute locally but now we are bringing a little tech from the website right onto the poster by including QRcodes.

The QRCode containing our URLThese codes work a little like barcodes – with a suitable application on your phone, you can point your camera at one and the information contained within is transferred automatically to your phone, whether it be (as in the case of our posters) a web address to store on your phone, a phone number to dial or just a simple text message.

So today we score another first as these barcodes have gone live on all posters and you can view and test an example above which contains simply the web address for this site.

Depending on the make and model of your phone, there are a number of (usually free) scanning applications available.  I have listed some below for your convenience.

I-nigma reader, by 3GVision
Install via mobile browser: http://www.i-nigma.mobi
or download to a computer and transfer it to your mobile device from
www.i-nigma.com

NeoReader, by NeoMedia Technologies / Gavitec AG – mobile digit
Install via mobile browser: http://get.neoreader.com

UpCode reader, by UPC
Install via mobile browser: http://www.upcode.fi
or download to a computer and transfer it to your mobile device from
www.upc.fi/en/upcode/instructions/download

Semacode reader, by Semacode
Install via mobile browser: http://semacode.org/ota
or download to a computer and transfer it to your mobile device from
semacode.org/software/

QuickMark reader
Download to a computer and transfer it to your mobile device from
www.quickmark.com.tw/En/basic/index.asp

Pet Photos – The Ultimate Low Cost Pet Insurance

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

Don’t get us wrong here, we are not advocating that you let your regular pet insurance policy lapse, but having had a couple of listings already today without photos attached, we are struck by how much less impact listings without photos have.

With automated display of listing photos first on Flickr and now on Twitpic, the reach of your listing becomes that much greater when you add a photo.

So, snap a couple of pics of your beloved pet right now and store them away for safe keeping – you never know when you may need them.

Tips for Good Lost & Found Pet Photos

  • Use a dedicated digital camera and not a mobile phone camera as most mobile phone cameras will produce lower quality photos and this quality will degrade even more as photos are manipulated for reuse.
  • Make the pet the subject of the shot.
  • If you have multiple pets, take shots of each individually.
  • Avoid taking shots with a publicly identifiable background scene to protect your own privacy.
  • Also for your own privacy, keep yourself and other family members out of the photos.
  • Consider the angle you take the shots from. It can be wise to keep a very distinguishing marking out of the public domain. Such markings can be used by those who may find your pet to help prevent nefarious types claiming your pet.
  • Use a background which has a significantly different colour palette to your pet’s colouring – a shot of a ginger tabby sitting on a sofa with a faux tiger skin throw is not the way to go.
  • Take the shot in natural daylight to avoid red eye (can often result in ‘blue eye’ for animals) which can really change the character of your pet’s appearance.