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Business websites for mobile devices: Google offers advice

How does your company site look on a mobile device? Google has put up a site to give you a view and some suggestions for mobile-friendly sites.

HowToGoMo.com gives you a peek at how it looks on a screen but lacks thorough information about the way to go about setting an alternate view of your site. Instead go to Google's “Mobilise your business” service.

Choose a template by business type. The restaurant template has simple information boxes to let mobile surfers get all the information you care to put on there. Multiple pages allow the inclusion of special offers, a full menu and directions.

It incorporates Google Maps for customised location. A click-to-call button makes it easy for users to give you a call. You can add images, links and other content online. Choose a colour theme and save it to a Google site page. There you can add text and other features.

It's basic, but it gives you an automatic start. You can use the source code to put it on your regular Internet site, with a link to it, or add in an automatic re-direct if a mobile browser is detected.

You can get a lot more sophisticated on the mobile web. Among the Internet start-ups I have recently stumbled across there is TapCrowd, which could get itself mixed up with searches for a popular dancing past time, but is designed to reduce the geekness of creating a personalised mobile app for your business.

Select the features you want from a range of modules, add personalised content and generate your native app for the iPhone, Android, Nokia, Blackberry, Windows Phone 7, and a mobile web application. Sounds like a good business. They can be found at www.tapcrowd.com.

Mobile resto (http://mobileresto.com/) is in a similar line of business, but targets a specific niche, where it makes more immediate sense. Restaurant owners can create a specific app online.

Mobile resto is already operating and offering a price plan ranging from free to $40 a month for a full package. You will also need an annual AppStore account if you want your app sold through Apple. That would be another $70 a year.

We will look back on the summer of 2011 as one of unrest and protest. Arab Spring brought in some successes, including a democratic election in Tunisia. Closer to home are the Occupy Wall Street movement, and the protests in Europe.

In Europe social media played a big role in bringing attention to what began as minor protests movements, at least in the chronicles of the major media. The most significant youth movement in Europe at this moment, los indignados, started in Madrid but did not really begin attracting people until a group of 40 students trying to rally against government cuts, were told to move on at the main square. One noted the fact on 15 May to Justin Bieber's Twitter page, something to the point that the weekend previously many had camped out for the singer's tickets without any hassle.

By the 17 May the tag #spanishrevolution and others related to the protests, became a trending topic in the social-network Twitter. The tweet and others brought hundreds to the square, until 30,000 became indignados, or the outraged. Some walked to Brussels as part of the protest and that movement also received coverage due to Twitter's reach.

Contrast this largely peaceful protest with the riot in the UK, which stands bitterly apart from these because of its violence and looting. A protest, arising out of an anger over a police shooting and other perceived injustices, easily tumbled into the madness of the crowd.

Unfortunately that behaviour gave those without a care for privacy and rights a chance to spout off about shutting the Internet down. I mentioned my shock when the prime minister, David Cameron said he was willing to set those aside for law and order.

Now it turns out he was not kidding. British papers are reporting that he was talked out of declaring a kind of martial law on the Internet by the foreign secretary, William Hague. The grounds were such an act would give the British no standing among dictators when it came to arguing for access to the Internet.

He is right and this week he was able to set out a credible seven principles governments should follow in regulating online behaviour. Respect for international law, individual rights of privacy, and intellectual property are among the principles. The rest are right to access for everyone, tolerance and respect for diversity of ideas, ensuring it is open to innovation and the free flow of information, the promotion of a competition, and collective action against cybercrime.

Send any comments to elamin.ahmed[AT]gmail.com

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Published November 02, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated November 02, 2011 at 9:41 am)

Business websites for mobile devices: Google offers advice

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