Social battles and Google changes

You probably know about the huge leak of secret information pertaining to the failing war in Afghanistan last week, which uncovered civilian killings, efforts to eliminate Taliban and al-Qaida leaders, and the involvement of Pakistan and Iran in supporting insurgents. Instead of releasing a statement or holding a press release, the US military’s public relations team have combatted the war log leak by starting up a new social media front. Admiral Mike Mullen used Twitter to voice his views, claiming that the appalling document leak changes nothing on their Afghanistan changes or their relationship with Pakistan.

The reason the leaks, released on wikileaks.org, are so startling to many of us is not only because they highlight existing issues of privacy and information sharing. They challenge the way we receive and consume information in a very confronting and threatening way. The social aspect of technology is growing more and more powerful, and traditional journalism which works without community effort is dying. It’s fitting then, that the US military should choose a medium as popular as Twitter to combat the leaks. They cut out the middle man – the media – by delivering information straight to the audience.

In other news, you may have noticed all the recent changes being sported across all of Google’s services, with perhaps the most noticeable change being Google Images’ new look. However what’s got us talking is the new pale purple colour of Google’s AdWords ads. The ads started changing colour for various users across last week, and by now they should appear for all users. Google says it’s “purely an aesthetic change to our ads, and won’t have any impact on the way we target or serve advertisements”.

So then, why? Colour psychology suggests the colour purple conjures ideas of “royalty and wealth” as well as “wisdom and spirituality”. Perhaps it’s an attempt to make the previously yellow ads less conspicuous and garish, and potentially more appealing to click on. One thing is certain: everyone now has their eyes peeled for dramatic changes in click through rates and conversions.

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