More slightly-above-average Google tricks

More slightly-above-average Google tricks: From the always informative Gary Price at comes the news that several new “Google shortcuts” were announced today, including “search by number” features like area code information, UPC codes, VIN numbers, USPS tracking numbers and flight tracking.

However, Gary seems to be less than impressed:

“Many services like those linked from Google exist and have existed for many years. Some of you might also want to take a look at this tracking service. I checked flights for from several airlines with this new Google feature and got nothing. Airlines that I didn’t find links for included Jet Blue, Southwest, AirTran, Midwest Express, Sun Country, Spirit, ATA, Lufthansa, Virgin, KLM, Aloha, and Hawaiian. It also appears that single digit and some four digit flight numbers do not work. It’s surprising that Google didn’t check this before releasing this shortcut and making the announcement.”

You tell ’em, Gary.

Dog bites dog

Dog bites dog: It’s not really earth-shattering when someone in the White House says the “mainstream” news media is irrelevant, as Ken Aluetta’s piece this week in the New Yorker reports (not online). It’s a little more significant when the mainstream newsmedia says that about itself.

Quote from New Yorker via the Washington Post:

Karl Rove says Bush has “a cagey respect” for the press but views it as “elitist,” a bunch of people trying “to get a headline or get a story that will make people pay attention to their magazine, newspaper or television more.” And Chief of Staff Andrew Card agrees that journalists “don’t represent the public any more than other people do.”

Quote from the Reed Johnson of the LA Times:

The leader of the free world isn’t alone in his meager estimation of the fourth estate. It’s no secret that the public’s faith in the mass media has been slipping for years, that journalists today are regarded by many Americans as predatory, biased, out of touch with readers, motivated by personal agendas, complacent and complicit with the corporate and governmental powers that be…What’s striking today is how many media insiders and observers agree that the profession is falling down on the job. Bookstands teem with teeth-gnashing titles testifying to the media’s alleged moral vacuousness, lack of fairness and independence, or sheer incompetence.

Shame marketing

Shame marketing: Last summer, I blogged the news that AARP was attempting to woo young media buyers to consider advertising in a magazine their parents might read, yuck. I guess the Hamptons guerilla marketing came up short, as now AARP is going for the jugular with some creative designed to generate advertising sales by shaming media planners (or, better, their clients) into putting AARP Magazine on their schedules. For example, one ad says: “These days, doctors don’t pronounce you dead. Marketers do.”
For the record, I think this campaign is brilliant and I believe it will work. It has already generated a big article in the NY Times (registration required), for example. And a mention on the rexblog. Developing.