Google+ is Going Through a Breakup

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Google+ has been suffering from what many tech blogs and business publications are calling a “slow death”—its initial launch established the site as an attempt to be a fully-integrated social platform, with its multifaceted approach rivaling companies like Facebook, Dropbox, WordPress, and Skype.

However, after failing to gain both traction and users in the social media community, it recently announced that it will be splitting the platform into three different components: Hangouts, Photos, and Streams. Hangouts is a video chatting service that will remain independent of Google+, photos is a storage space for images that will be added to Google Drive, and streams covers the rest of the Google+ experience along with News and Blogger.

While the idea of a streamlined, all-in-one social media platform sounded like a good idea, perhaps it was the ambition of the venture that led to its demise; users considered the Google+ login to YouTube a nuisance, found the interface unaesthetic, and the whole system a cheap Facebook facsimile.

Google has finally compromised, maintaining the best aspects of Google+ like Hangouts and Photos, and has removed the Google+ sign-in on YouTube, much to users’ delight.

The moral of the story: Don’t put all of your digital marketing eggs in one basket, especially if your product is at risk of being disruptive—and not in the good way.

What Sparks Our Fire: Google+ taking the next step forward and making smart decisions in the face of a highly-publicized technological failure.

Superheroes Built From Scratch


It’s no secret that Google has a broad spectrum of interests, and they’ve even got a new parent company to prove it. Recently, the Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities, which strives to spur innovation that helps “create more access and opportunity for the one billion people living with disabilities,” granted $600,000 to e-NABLE, a nonprofit organization that uses tools like 3D printing and bionics to create solutions for the disabled.

Examples are the hot pink bionic hand that e-NABLE created for a little girl, Ari Solorio, who was born without a hand. e-NABLE, the Google-funded nonprofit organization of volunteers in charge of creating Ari’s bionic hand, takes advantage of the growing 3D printing trend and the do-it-yourself movement. AIO Robotics supplied all the 3D software responsible for creating the device, and so far about 40 have been made.

These prosthetics, rather than awkwardly attempting to imitate human flesh, are brightly colored and look like something out of an Iron Man comic, some with claws and flashing lights. They are designed with the intention of helping kids take pride in their artificial limbs, rather than be embarrassed by them.

e-NABLE has made it clear that subtle is not their style–and kids are loving it.

What Sparks Our Fire: Technology designs that are not only functional, but fun for kids and help

Go Explore

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There are countless apps out there that offer great location-based services. Yelp and the recently redesigned Foursquare are two of the best out there when you are looking for something to do nearby. But one of the giants has entered the market and is poised to take them down.

Google announced a new feature for its Google Maps app for iOS and Android that allows you to explore your area. The feature offers you suggestions on what to do based on your location, the weather, and time of day. For example, by just tapping the explore button while at my desk in the morning, it suggests the best nearby coffee shops, but when I check it before I leave work it recommends restaurants, bars, and movie theaters instead. When it’s raining out, you can be sure it won’t recommend that you go to the nearest outdoor swimming pool. If you aren’t looking for something right now, you can easily just enter the time of day that you are looking to go and explore.

What Sparks our Fire: An easy way to explore your city.

What do you think of Google tackling the nearby recommendation category with this update?

Google’s Newest Technology: Cardboard


This week Google hosted their developers conference, Google I/O where the tech giant announced a variety of updates to their Android operating system. But, seemingly the coolest thing that Google did announce came as a gift to all attendees at the end of the conference – cardboard.

Being that this is Google we are talking about, the Cardboard device is much more than what you would image from a piece a cardboard. Instead it is a full on virtual reality headset, similar to the Oculus Rift, except made of cardboard.


All users need to do is assemble one of these devices, which is not that difficult, place their phone into it and then they can enter an entirely virtual world. Currently there are only a few apps available in cardboard since it was just launched this week. But, we can only image where this will go as a very simple and easy entry into the world of virtual reality.

This is clearly a sign of things to come though in technology. It is time for us as advertisers to start imaging how we can get our foot in the door of virtual reality and really ride the wave of this new technology.

What Sparks our Fire: How Google is able to take the simplest of materials, and make it an amazing piece of technology.

What uses can you imagine for Google Cardboard?