Google+ #AutoAwesome

When Google+ #AutoAwesome Is Not That Awesome

By Paul Konikowski, CTS-D

In the fall of 2013, Google released a new set of features on Google+ called AutoAwesome.  If you want to use AutoAwesome, you need to have uploaded or synchronized digital photos from your phone to your Google Drive. Once you enable AutoAwesome in your profile settings, and your photos meet a certain criteria, Google will essentially create new images by adding special effects to your photos, or will sometimes combine a series of phones into a composite image or an animated gif. But sometimes those AutoAwesome results are not that awesome. Let me show you some examples, starting with a “successful” AutoAwesome image:

Google created this composite photo from three other photos.  In reality, there was only one dog
Google created this composite from 3 separate photos. In reality, there was only 1 dog

The image above was created by Google AutoAwesome after uploading 3 different photos of my white German Shepard, Jack. Notice that Jack’s leash has also been deleted on 2 of the 3 dogs.  Google also created a new “ERASER” image that deleted Jack altogether, except for the leash:

Notice how Google + erased Jack and his shadow but not his leash and its shadow
Notice Google + erased Jack and his shadow, but not his leash, and its shadow

I think its pretty neat that Google can do this to uploaded photos, but many times the autoawesome image is not that awesome. In fact, sometimes the resulting image or gif is downright scary:

Google AutoAwesome turned my dog Jack into Kerberos
AutoAwesome turned my dog Jack into the mythical creature, Kerberos

Take a look at what AutoAwesome did to the Golden Gate Bridge in this image below:

Autoawesome must have detected and deleted straight black lines in this image
Autoawesome detected and deleted straight black lines in the original image

I have seen other images where faces have been accidentally replaced with someone else’s face, or a person’s head was completely deleted! Luckily, the AutoAwesome animated gifs usually turn out better than the Eraser photos:

Google AutoAwesome created this animated gif image from a series of uploaded photos
AutoAwesome created this animated gif image from a series of photos
Google AutoAwesome created this animated gif image from a series of uploaded photos
We were trying to win a gift certificate from Love’s Convenience Stores

In addition to the “Eraser” and “Motion” features, AutoAwesome will also sometimes photobomb your photos, or add special effects like falling snow or floating hearts to photos of romantic couples. Personally, I have very mixed feelings about Google AutoAwesome: part of me thinks Google has pioneered a whole new angle of digital photography, while creating a new tool for social media marketing; and that part of me really does find these new images to be truly awesome.  But a bigger part of me says, Wait a second, how exactly do ‘they’ decide what photos to autoawesome? For instance, how on earth does Google know to add animated hearts to two people kissing?  Seriously, how does Google know that two people are kissing, and not Siamese twins? If it’s just an automated robot (computer program), that would be impressive, but a bit scary. If there is a human deciding which photos to use, then we should be worried about privacy issues; even more scary.  I guess if a person is willing to create a Google+ account, and upload photos, they are giving up their rights to those photos.  As the old saying goes, you can’t swim, without getting wet.

Feel free to share your links to your own Google+ Autoawesome photos in the comments below.


Facebook: If You Don’t Like It, You Can Logout

Please Stop Complaining About Facebook On Facebook

By Paul Konikowski

Facebook Close Friends
How to add someone to your Close Friends list on Facebook

If you are one of the millions of people “on Facebook” (yes, its kind of like a drug),  you may have noticed that a lot of Facebook users (junkies) tend to complain every time the website makes changes.  For example, the switch to Timeline upset a lot of people who were content with their old Facebook Profiles and Walls.  And lately, many users and especially bands are sharing this post from Dangerous Minds and/or posting a similar meme saying “Facebook, I Want My Friends Back”.

Many are upset that their Friends or Fans are not seeing 100% of their posts 100% of the time. Tell me, would you really take the time to read hundreds of posts each day from all the Friends, Bands, and Pages you have liked over the years? Just like in real life, the more friends you have, the less you see of each of them. The more hobbies you engage in, the less time you spend on each interest.

Facebook Interest Lists
How to add a Facebook Fan Page to your Interest Lists

Instead telling FB they are wrong for trying to prioritize the posts in your News Feed, or that they are wrong for trying to make a profit by using Promoted Posts and Advertisements, you should take some time to learn more about EdgeRank. Go to your favorite Pages and click Add To Interest under the Like button; Unsubscribe from Pages you don’t care much about; label your Close Friends as such, and I guarantee your News Feed will be much more fulfilling.

If you have done all that, and are still mad at Facebook for the changes they have made, just logout, or even better, close your Facebook account all together, and save us all a few seconds each day.

Remember, Facebook never promised that your followers would see all your posts, nor should they; it’s simply impossible. No one is forcing you to be on Facebook; but I for one am glad you are “on it”.

Facebook Friendship Pages
Preview of the next big change to hit Facebook: Friendship Pages. For more info :

Social Media Tools

How To Make Your Own Internet Meme

By Paul Konikowski

If you are over the age of 30, you may have no idea what a meme is.  So let’s start with a quick history lesson: The word meme (pronounced meem) is a shortening of the ancient Greek mimeme, which means “something imitated”.  A meme in its simplest form is an idea passed from person to person, that spreads through society. But nowadays, when most people say meme, they mean a humorous internet meme.

Slowpoke Meme
Slowpoke memes are used with old news, to make fun of folks who missed the boat More on Slowpoke

A typical meme consists of a photo or cartoon along with a caption that acts as the punchline of the joke. The caption is generally placed directly over the photo in white text, and often split into two segments, so that half of the text is at the top of the photo (setting up the joke), and half of the text is at the bottom of the photo (the funny part).

Memes are extremely popular among high school and college students who use Facebook. Memes are often about current events, and generally use a single meme character which matches the joke text. These characters can be celebrities, cartoons, animals, or just random photos of people.  It’s important to match the type of joke with the proper meme character.  For example: Scumbag Steve would leave you the end slices of the loaf of bread, whereas Good Guy Greg would never do such a terrible thing to his friends, or even strangers in society.

One of the most popular meme themes lately has used a black background with six photos to describe what you really do for a living vs. what people think you do.  I made this one using marketing engineer meme

So far, memes have been limited to humor and sometimes political satire.  But who says that they can’t be used for marketing?  What better way to reach a younger audience than through humor that gets passed virally through Facebook and The Twitter? Why not use memes to promote your events, products, services, or causes!

WMC 2012
Most Interesting Man Meme I made about the 2012 Winter Music Conference

The easiest way to make a meme is to use a website like  First, review the meme characters and decide which one fits your joke.  Next, review this particular character in depth to make sure someone else hasn’t created a similar meme.  You want to be original. Then simply type in your text and save it as a jpg image.

Google+ users can also create memes using its online photo editor. From your Google+ home page, click the camera logo to the right of Share what’s new… and choose the photo or graphic you want to use for your meme.  But before you post the photo to your stream, click Add text and type in your joke caption using the three boxes marked Top text, Middle text, and Bottom text.  The default font is white Impact, which is used for most memes, but you can change the font by clicking the T button. Last, use the Center, Left, or Right Justify buttons, if needed.

I also suggest checking out TheDailyMeme to stay current on meme trends and characters.  Don’t be a Slowpoke!