Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Where Do We Go From Here?
Before I go off on another three day vacation (yep, no posts till Saturday night), I'd like to share some musings on Google's future.
In the last few weeks, we've seen a lot of big news in the world of search. A9 was launched, and brought us a very complex interface that any geek has to love, and will certainly grow into something great. MyJeeves was launched, also bringing personalization of search and saved searches. My Yahoo has revealed a new beta interface. MSN Search is still being developed.
So what does Google have in store for us?
Nobody really knows. Is it the Google Browser, or personalized results, or instant messaging? When is Gmail going live? What exactly is Google up to?
Google has not yet gotten used to being a public company. They are keeping every single project under wraps. Companies do keep secrets, of course, even from their investors, but I have never seen a company that didn't show any of its cards, at the very least in an attempt to boost its stock price.
Google's stock price has risen steadily, despite no actual news. The strong search industry and all the announcements from other companies have probably helped. Most investors are hoping Google will reveal something big in the next few weeks, shooting up the stock 10-15%. A little mystery always helps.
There's a flip side, of course. If Google doesn't bring something new to market, investors will get antsy. They had better have something up their sleeves, or the stock can drop just as quickly as it rose.
That's all till Saturday night. If anyone is interested in guest blogging next week Thursday - Saturday, let me know.
Google Executive David Scacco Tells All
David Scacco, an exec at Google, said some things at ChannelAdvisor Strategy Summit 2004 that give some insight into Google's plans and policies. He explained how more searches are for products than brands, how AdSense reaches 80% of web traffic, the possibility of an AdSense inclusion list, and Froogle. Read more about it at Search Engine Lowdown.
Is Google News In Beta Because Of Lawsuits?
Adam Penenberg at Wired News says that he thinks Google News is still in beta after three years because if Google brings it out of beta and puts ads on the site, they may face lawsuits from angry content publishers. I agree that this is possible, but I disagree with any news site that thinks Google News is hurting their business. Google News is my news sites #1 referrer, accounting for more than half oof all outside traffic, and a lot of the other referrals come from Topix.net. Google News should increase traffic to any decent news site, and sites should be optimizing themselves for Google News. Google News is good for business, and news sites should encourage them.
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Behind The Scenes At Yahoo Labs
YSearchBlog Gives the skinny on how Yahoo works on improving its search results, kind of a 21st century electronic focus group.
Google Goes Up, Up, Up
Google shares hit a new record high of $126.86, up over 7% on the day. Google continues to rise despite no major announcements, perhaps because investors expect Google to strike the next blow in the search wars any day now, and are hoping for a nice bounce.
Google Blog Speaks On China News Controversy
Google's Blog has issued a statement on the recent controversy on Google News China blocking certain sites. Nothing new, but a blog post definetly is more personal and pacifies the masses better than a press release. Good for them.
Bloglines Web Services Aims To Solve Major Blog Problem
One issue operators of blogs face is that all those people out there accessing their RSS feeds can really eat up bandwidth and make your web hosting unaffordable. Bloglines has always been very good at helping ease the problem, by making it so that Bloglines accesses all the RSS feeds for all of its customers, meaning the thousands of Bloglines users only count as one user in terms of RSS scraping. Now, other RSS readers can access Bloglines RSS cache through Bloglines Web Services, further increasing the number of computers that aren't downloading the same RSS feeds over and over again. Bloglines aims to have most RSS traffic go through them, instead of John Q. Webhosting. Great idea, and a great service, guys!
(via Geeking With Greg)
This Day In Google
You can use this handy applet to find out what happened today. The search returns three results about what happened to practically anybody on that given day, and you can add a keyword to restrict the search to a subject. Very fun. I found out that on my birthday, Andre the Giant defeated Kamala. Fascinating stuff.
(via The Presurfer > A Welsh View)
Free Hotmail - Outlook Integration Going Away
Miscrosoft is frantically revamping Hotmail in an attempt to retain users who may be lured by Gmail. The upgraded Hotmail is slowly being released, but Microsoft is taking away one feature: Free access of your Hotmail account from Outlook and Outlook Express. That is quite a shame, especially since it means users can no longer use Outlook to export Hotmail contacts, as many have in the past. I can't blame Microsoft for doing it. It goes against their strategy of integrating products into Windows, but it is still a premium feature. Paid users will still be able to use Outlook.
(via Ars Technica)
Will GBrowser Spawn MBrowser?
Microsoft Watch wonders that if Google releases Gbrowser, will Microsoft respond with a standalone internet browser? Its an interesting idea.
Search Engine Lowdown Tuesday
Here's a sampling of what you can read at Search Engine Lowdown today:
Kevin Ryan says the search engine industry is slowing, but that "slowing" refers to only 34% growth.
ClickLab says as much as 50% of Pay-Per-Click advertising clicks are fradulent.
IBM will launch this week a corporate search engine code-named Masala, aimed at IT professionals.
Google Knows The Train Schedules
At least in France, Google knows the train schedules, according to Zorgloob. All you have to do is enter a search with the names of two cities, and Google gives you a result like the one at right. Tres' cool.
New Beta Of My Yahoo
Yahoo now has a new beta of My Yahoo!, and the most interesting new feature are RSS feeds you can add for most of the content on the page. This leaves Google as the only company who hasn't made a major announcement on personalized search in the last two weeks.
Size Matters, Or Does It?
Just because they can, one company has announced a 100-gigabyte email service. Of course, in what may be the most bogus claim in the history of the internet, the company, Hellacious Riders, claims to have alrewady signed up over thirty million users. Who actually publishes statements like that?
Quiet Period Is Completely Over
Google's underwriter quiet period ends today, meaning that underwriters of an IPO are finally allowed to publish their estimated valuations of the stock. CSFB promtly valued Google shares at $145, 25 above the current price. Also, Google will soon be launching investor.google.com as a resource for investors in the stock.
Monday, September 27, 2004
Why Gmail Is The Future Of Google
The New York Post talks more Google, this time about how Gmail is vital to the company's future. Their basic point is that Gmail may actually be a better, more consistent ad revenue source than regular AdWords on the search engine. Gmail is the most important thing in Google's future, if it is the only thing in Google's future. I think we can count on them to at least try to top this.
(via Search Engine Lowdown)
Google Stock On The Up And Up
The L.A. Times talks about GOOG's slow but steady rise over the last few weeks. Google shares closed Friday at $119.83, a 99 cent loss, but only the second down day in three weeks. Shares actually hit an all time high of $124.10 before lowering back down to Earth.
Does Google Images Suck?
Brad Hill on the Unofficial Google Weblog says Google Images sucks at displaying relevant images. I agree. While enough of them are decent, more than half are always porn or pictures of weird, completely useless stuff. It's actually a lot of fun sometimes trying to figure out why a certain picture turned up under a certain query. And really, who doesn't love kittens in a fish bowl?
Sunday, September 26, 2004
Google Toolbar New Version Fixes Security Vulnerability
Version 18.104.22.168 of the Google Toolbar is out, and google-blog.dirson.com says it fixes the vulnerabilities that everybody was going crazy about last week. Of course, you'll see no evidence of the new version on Google's web site, and the toolbar itself, which claims to be self-updating, doesn't appear updated on my system. Guess we have to take Google at its word again.
Project D.U. Website Launching Soon, SBC To Pay Bloggers To Use Their RSS Feeds
So, I finally get a scoop. A friend of mine who runs a blog is part of the new site, Project D.U. He says to me:
Hey - this is the website for it all http://projectdu.com/
It's basically a fancy RSS reader, aimed at the college market, with
links to blogs in 4 categories. It should be launching publicly soon.
A private beta will be next week we hope.
You mention my blog in connection to this at all, and there will be suffering.
No problem, man, I'm plenty grateful for the info.
The site is run by SBC, and will basically be paying bloggers, in the neighborhood of $100-$200 a month, to use their RSS feeds and create this all-purpose hot spot for the college market. As they say:
To completely understate and definitely oversimplify, Project D.U. is like a roundtable of experts with the latest information on a variety of subjects – including, but not limited to, which national news anchors sport a rug.
The site hasn't launched, but I'm told the beta could be any day now, and some "tool" is referenced to be available soon for download, probably the mass-market designed RSS reader.
I love the idea of bringing blogs more into the mainstream, but the success of a site like this depends entirely on whether or not it is cool. We'll have to wait and see. Either way, good luck, guys.
President Bush Asks Google To Find Osama Bin Laden
In a brilliant campaign move, the President has asked researchers at Google Answers to help him locate Al-Qaeda head Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the World Trade Center attacks three years ago. Even if users can't find bin Laden (their record isn't much better than the CIA's), the move should endear him to the younger generation. I tried finding Osama myself on Google, with little success.
Saturday, September 25, 2004
Findory Now Has A Blog
Findory has added a blog of cool stuff people found on Findory. Anybody can contribute, just be emailing mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org. Seriously, if you aren't listed on Findory, you're just wasting a potential source of traffic.
Google's China News Strategy Explained
John Battelle gets the last word on the Google News China story. As he explains, Google does not filter sites for Google News China, except for eight sites they did not include, because the Chinese government would block them anyway. Google thinks it would hurt the search experience if sites were listed that people couldn't access, but in that case, why not drop all subscription based sites in the U.S.?
Get Your GBrowser Rumors Here!
How badly are the GBrowser rumors coming? I must get 10-20 posts in my Bloglines notifier alone every day on the subject, and twice as many on Findory. I've avoided the speculation, since there isn't any actual news, and in the news business, it has to be novel. Today, we have actual evidence. Zorgloob point to http://www.google.com/mozilla/google.xul, which, as the URL suggests, is the Mozilla interface for Google. It won't work in IE, so try another browser. I ran it in Firefox, and its so fast it makes the regular Google look as slow as a turtle. A dead turtle.
Also, Zorgloob had a joke too good to pass up. Talking about international versions of Froogle, Zorgloob says, "Je pense que les Allemands arriveront avant les Français", which loosely translates to, "I think the Germans will arrive before the French." I find it funny, but I refuse to say why.
Hotmail Accounts Getting Upgraded
Slashdot says Hotmail accounts are finally getting the 250 megabytes Microsoft promised. I'm still waiting, and I pay for my account!
(via Findory Blogory)
Friday, September 24, 2004
Eric LeBeau of Zorgloob pointed this out to me: Googland, the new Google island in the Pacific. Googland, formerly GoGoora Island, was chosen because it owns the .go domain, and because of its resemblance to the letter "G". It will become the new corporate headquarters of Google, and most of Google's employees will be relocated there. There will be enforced recreational fishing time of at least 20% of the day, and Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page will share the title of Prime Minister (CEO Eric Schmidt will be named "Googland Republic President"). The site is made by Abondance. If you want more information, check out this site.
Would You Like A Private Carribean Island?
Google Omid Kordestani, Senior vice president, world sales and field operations at Google, and you might see the AdWords ad pictured on the right. I saw it, and if you hit refresh a few times, it should pop up. I clicked on the ad (what can I say? It's compelling!) and it brings you to halfmoonisland.com, a site about Half Moon Cay, a 9.2 acre island in the Carribean, two miles from Guanaja. It looks like a really cool island, complete with buildings, boat houses, a power station, and a beach party area. They even let you keep the ice cream making machine and the TV! If this is on the up-and-up, it has to cost a fortune, maybe around the price of a 3-bedroom apartment in Manhattan. Anyway, you might just see that ad on this page soon, which would be hilarious.
(via John Battelle's Searchblog)
Google Tries To Be Fair
There are a lot of theories SEO people have. Because none of them actually work for the major search engines, they can never know exactly how they work, and there's no way to prove a certain plan was the reason you got good listings on Google. One theory is that sites that use Google AdSense get spidered faster. I wouldn't blame Google if they did it, since after all it's still better than paid listings. But rustybrick at Search Engine Roundtable
put it to the test, creating a site that had AdSense, but didn't exist as far as the rest of the internet was concerned. The only one that knew it existed besides himself was Google's AdSense, and since months later it still wasn't in Google, there's your proof: Google really is serious when it says it doesn't play favorites. Don't be evil, indeed.
Wanna Work At Google? Email Me.
Cedric Beust, a Noogler (according to google-blog.dirson.com), is inviting people to send him resumes if they want to work at Google. Well, that sure is easier than answering a billboard.
Internet Withdrawl Research At Yahoo
Apparently, I'm not the only one who thinks going without the internet can be hell. When I was away last week for three days, it wasn't easy. Now, there is a study on Internet Withdrawl. I'll let Slashdot explain:
|Experiment Cuts Off Online Junkies from Internet|
on Friday September 24, @03:38AM
from the sometimes-it-still-feels-like-it's-there dept.
Ant (an Internet junkie) writes "An article from The Register reports one begins gibbering uncontrollably because he/she can't get a fix without internet access after two weeks. That, at least, is according to an 'Internet Deprivation Study' carried out by Yahoo! and advertising outfit OMD.
Participants in the human experiment were deprived of the web for 14 days, and found themselves quickly succumbing to 'withdrawal and feelings of loss, frustration and disconnectedness.' The reason for the rapid collapse of their universe is - say the researchers - because 'internet users feel confident, secure and empowered.'"
The Google Terminator
A billion years ago (about three weeks), I posted about a cover story in Technikart magazine about Google, and Sebism over at LiveJournal helped me out with translation of the article synopsis. Well, now he's provided me with high-res scans of the article (thanks a bunch!). At the very least, I can marvel at the cool images (especially the Arnold Schwarzenegger as metaphor for Google cover, and yes, that is a naked woman on page 8), but I'm hoping to run Optical Character Recognition on them so I can work on translating the article. If anyone can give me some tips on how to do this, it would be most appreciated.
Also, the article contains the first photo I've ever seen of noted Google critic Daniel Brandt:
How To Manage Multiple Gmail Accounts
Do you have more than one Gmail account, and it drives you nuts that you can't keep more than one account open? Well, Zorgloob has your solution: Run more than one Gmail Notifier. You may have problems keeping your Gmail account window open, but you should be fine getting new mail notifications. It's not easy to get it to work (you have to log in to a different account than Gmail Notifier recognizes, so the program gets confused and asks you for your password), but the main thing is it can be done. A good tip.
Does Google News Have A Bias?
Some discussion on Search Engine Watch Blog and Online Journalism Review as to whether Google News is biased. I don't think so, but I enjoy the debate. I remember an speech Google CEO Eric Schmidt gave at the EECS Annual Research Symposium in February where he admitted Google News has two biases: It is biased in favor of stories about cricket (yes, the sport), and it is designed to show more international sources than the algorithms would normally pick. I posted about it last month.
Top Online Retailers Don't Optimize For Search
A study by search marketing company OneUpWeb says that out of the 100 largest retailers (as determined by Internet Retailer's Top 300 Guide) only 12 have had proper SEO, and 36 showed no evidence of paying attention to search engines at all. Of course, being a company that sells these services means you have to consider the source, which has good reason to want to drum up profit. Still, interesting stuff.
Thursday, September 23, 2004
Paid Contextual Advertising Driving Search Towards Personalization
From Search Engine Guide:
There have been recent articles stating that contextual advertising is beginning to flat-line. Speculation that the sector is starting to dry up is more likely an indicator that a new twist or innovation on content delivery is necessary than it is that advertisers have gone sour on the concept. It is a short step from keyword targeted advertising to content delivered based on information gathered about your personal preferences.
Read the article
Who Gets Credit In Google?
Adam Greenfield has a very interesting article on v-2 about how RSS can get in the way of proper attribution. An absolute must-read.
(via Google Blogoscoped)
I always try to attribute properly, as you can see, although sometimes it proves impossible. I think its a responsibility for every blogger to give credit where credit is due.
Google Print Search Engine
For some reason, Google has decided to combine Google Print into its search engine but not allow searching of the index. Now, Research Buzz has a Google Print search engine, to make up for the one Google didn't provide.
(via Search Engine Guide)
Google Founder Win Marconi Engineering Award
Andy Beal says on Search Engine Lowdown:
According to ZDNet, Sergey Brin and Larry Page have won the 2004 'Fellows of the Marconi Foundation' at Columbia University. They plan to donate the $100k award to the Fellows Fund at the Marconi Foundation. Yeah, I probably would too if I was worth $4 billion, they probably lose more than that down the back of the sofa!
Fagoogle, the gay Google, was banned and just shut down by Google. Despite the fact that Fagoogle claimed to comply with Google's terms of service, Google said Fagoogle violated their trademark. Since Fagoogle is not a not a parody site but a charity site, it is not protected.
(via Search Engine Lowdown)
MSN Search To Go Live On July 1st, 2005?
Search Engine Roundtable alerts us to speculation that MSN's new search engine will (finally) launch July 1st, 2005.
Finally This Revenue Sharing Deal Makes Sense
A few days ago, it was reported that Google and Reed Elsevier came to a deal to share revenues on traffic sent to his site. The Guardian reported the story, but the article by James Robinson succeeds in confusing the issue. PaidContent.org finally clears up the issue. Basically, Google is expanding Google Print, it's search engine of offline (magazine) content. Now, a search engine would be competition for a medical journal, since scientists rely on the sales of medical journals to help pay the bills. Google's solution, as it has always been, is to share the revenues from Google print with the content providers, meaning they gain money from including their content in Google Print and not just posting it on the web. Everybody wins. Oh, and while the Guardian makes the point that Elsevier "could come to similar agreements with Yahoo and Microsoft", I don't see how, since Yahoo and MS don't have similar projects.
(via Findory > Open Access News)
Can Paid Search Work For You?
I would argue that paid search is inherrently dishonest, because search engines are more of a public utility than an advertising firm, but it is still a reality for many webmasters. Kevin Ryan of iMedia gives tips on how to maximize your dollar in paid search. Interestingly, in linking to this article, Search Engine Watch Blog says budgeting for paid search "can't be done", since its so unpredictable, i.e. no guarantee of actual results.
Looksmart Gobbles Up Furl
Furl, a service that allows you to save and recall anything you see online, was scooped up by LookSmart yesterday. Furl sent out this letter to its members letting them know of the new bosses, and of one immediate new feature: the allocation of five gigabytes of potential page storage per user. LookSmart has clearly realized the velue of personalized search, and in one move assuages their customers fears of falling behind A9, Jeeves, and Yahoo. There is one other major search company that still needs to show they are serious about winning this battle...
(via John Battelle's Searchblog)
You may have heard of Nooglers, which is the nickname for new Google employees. Well, Zorgloob has found out that Nooglers get a funky hat. At first, it looks dumb, then after a while, it looks even dumber, but I still want one!
Ray Charles Google Doodle
Today is the late, and very great, Ray Charles' 74th birthday. Google honors him with a Doodle
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Notes On InsideGoogle
A few little notes on this blog:
First, InsideGoogle has 30 posts on each page. In spite of this being a relatively high number, because I post many times per day, this only includes the last two and a half days. I'm afraid raising that number will only increase people's bandwidth, so I hope readers are checking the archives. I scour the web like a madman for Google, search engine, and other web/tech news, so I hope people are reading it. If anybody has opinion on that or any design choice I make, speak up. Consider me open to anything.
Also, I've noticed Google is not indexing this page properly. Thirty days in, and a site:insidegoogle.blogspot.com search still only turns up two results, and the only post page it finds is a relatively recent one. InsideGoogle started as a LiveJournal site, but is now a Blogspot site with the LJ site just for a backup. Since Google is seemingly ignoring the Blogspot site, perhaps considering it duplicate content, I have to block Google from seeing the LiveJournal site. As a result, I am blocking spiders to the site. Hopefully, that solves the problem. If not, I'll have to make a decision on whether to keep the LJ site. Sorry guys, but Google listings are serious business.
Lastly, I picked up a referrer domain for this site. Typing in insidegoogle.info will bring you right here. I figured its a neat little courtesy for those who don't use bookmarks. Now you can save eight characters! Also, it has always been my plan to move this site to a proper domain if the right funding came through. While insidegoogle.com is preferrable, some company called "The Web Freaks" snatched it up, seemingly to sell it, probably to some poor shlub like me. So I can always use the .info if need be.
That's enough about me. Now back to your regularly scheduled InsideGoogle news!
Recommended Findory Features
I have some features I would like to see in Findory, just my two cents:
- More RSS feeds options, like being able to choose the amount of results in a feed and different feeds for different categories. I just find myself using the site so much, I wouldn't mind getting the Top 20 results, or even two different RSS feeds: one for top stories, and one for tech news.
- The ability to list which sites you already get feeds from. I keep seeing posts listed that I have already read, because I subscribe to those feeds. I know Findory wants to replace those feeds, thus helping ease the burdens on servers, but some users would rather use it not to do that but to discover new blogs and new info. If I could list in my preferences all the blogs I subscribe to (and my own blog), so I don't see them in the results, that would be really useful. And if Findory based its results on what I am already reading, even better.
- Same accounts for Findory News and Findory Blogory. I realized that even though I created an account in Findory Blogory, I still didn't have one in Findory News. Is this practical?
- Tags bloggers could place in their posts that would indicate the appropriate category to Findory, if different from the default.
- This may be asking too much, but maybe a "no" button to indicate posts or blogs I'm simply not interested in.
And no, my suggestions have absolutely nothing to do with my recent realization that Findory's CEO just might read them. No, not at all. No siree. Right.
Geeking With Greg
I just read this Seattle Times story on RSS feeds (an interesting read) and it quotes Greg Linden, who is the CEO of my favorite new site, Findory. Turns out its the same Greg Linden who runs Geeking With Greg, a site I rely on in my Blogroll (run by Bloglines, another company given a lot of attention in the article), and posts comments here occasionally. Ha! How did I not realize that before?
Porn-Free Search From LookSmart
LookSmart's NetNanny 5.1 has a built in version of LookSmart that filters porn. Of course, like most products that protect children, this costs money. Walt Mossberg says the engine isn't even worth it, since it doesn't catch and block "some blatantly inappropriate Web pages". How good is Google's filter?
(via Search Engine Watch Blog)
Google Toolbar Security Flaw Just A Bunch Of Hogwash
Webstractions explains that yesterday's reported Google Toolbar vulnerability is just an overblown non-story. The so-called flaw only allows content to be changed and run locally, meaning the attacker would actually have to already have access to your computer. If this person has access to your computer, why would he use the Toolbar to launch an attack when he can do it directly? That's like using a gun to shoot the trigger of another, less accurate gun. This vulnerability may exist, but it won't cause problems in the real world.
Overture Brings Broad Query Matching
Danny Sullivan reports on Clickz that Overture is allowing advertisers to buy broad search terms, which Google has allowed for some time now. What this means is that an ad buy for "shoes" can now also include everything from "women's shoes" to "golf shoes", a better value for Overture, the advertiser, and the searcher. Good move.
What You Can't Google
Google Blogoscoped points out the limitations of current search technology. Phillip Lensen says the one thing search engines can't possibly accomplish with current technology: the ability to make value judgements. Sure, Google can tell you the most popular site for cars and the lowest price on batteries. The one thing Google can't do is tell you which car or battery is better. Of course, in many ways, these are the same limits all computers face today, and the ultimate goal of computing and artificial intelligence.
Google Is Falling Behind
The Unofficial Google Weblog says Google is falling behind A9 and Jeeves, and even Yahoo, all of which offer better personalization options.
business thrust behind personalization is to own the user, since search engine loyalty is, in theory, non-existent.
Historically, toolbars have been the primary user-loyalty tactic, but they are now being supplanted by the server-side saved-search bookmark list.
Amazon and Jeeves have taken the lead. Where is Google? The Google Toolbar does not incorporate bookmarks, and the Google home page does not support saved search results. The clock is ticking.
Fybersearch Gets New Features
19-year old Nathan Enns has added new features to his powerful Fybersearch engine. Search Engine Lowdown gives us a sneak peak.
Does Slashdot Read Slashdot?
You gotta wonder if there is any short-term memory in the blogosphere. I've been largely ignoring the "Is Google Censoring News In China" story, since I am pretty sure its false. But when I saw Slashdot reporting on it, I was perturbed. On September first, I reported on a Slashdot story on Google in China, where Slashdot said: "...type of filtering applied to Google by the Chinese government". As is clear from the OpenNet Initiative's website, Google has refused to comply with the Chinese government's censoring, and the only reason Google China is filtered is because China's firewall bans sites with certain words in the URL. Since every search site, including Google News China, uses search keywords in the URL, naturally Google News searched would appear censored, but only because the Chinese government is the one doing the censoring. My only question is, does Slashdot actually read its old stories?
Read my post: Googling Behind China's Firewall
What If Yahoo Was Like Google?
If Yahoo was like Google, and featured an API that developers could tinker with, what apps would you like to see? That's what Jeremy Zawodny is asking in his blog. Some answers want Google features, like what is already being done with the Google Search API. Others want features they wish Google had, like an API for Image Search.
Google Finally Does Something About Ad Controversies
Danny Sullivan blames Google's secretive editorial policies for all the controversy we've seen the last few months, and he's absolutely right. The only reason Google is being sued by Geico and Rescuecom, why it has had to fend off lawsuits in Germany, why it has been the subject of confusion and criticism over liqour ads, gun ads, hate ads, protest ads, and others; the only reason is Google's own fault for not laying out an editorial policy.
My newspaper has run into trouble over not being clear enough in our editorial policy, so we fixed it. But at least we had one, so we had something to fix. Google's so-called editorial guidelines spend more time on the proper use of exclamation points and question marks, and virtually no time making sure Google doesn't get sued. It is becoming clear that the flip side of Google's "Don't Be Evil" is "Don't Say A Word", and that needs to change. "Don't Say A Word" is costing them money, and its costing them the trust of the online community, the courts, and other businesses.
Well, Google seems to finally be doing something about it. Danny says they plan to greatly expand the policies they publish online, so as to curb all the confusion.
"We're in the editing phase of what that page will look like," said Sheryl Sandberg, vice president of global online sales and operations for Google. "It won't be up in the next few days, but if we're not done within a few months, I'll be disappointed."
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Why Do We Need A Google Browser?
JR Conlin's Ink-Stained Banana says "the latest buzz about a Google Browser makes me giggle". He says we son't need a Google Browser, especially a Firefox-based one, and that other companies have tried and failed at making branded versions of browsers. Of course, he's absolutely right. A Google-branded browser is as dumb an idea as I can think of, and would ruin Google's reputation for innovation. The only was Google can release a browser, especially one they didn't even build, is if the browser has some major innovations. Convergence of Google products won't be enough. If GBrowser doesn't bring a killer app right out of the box, it will only hurt Google, not help it.
Why Is Google Paying Sites To Deliver Them Users?
Some news has come out over the last few days that Google now has agreements where they pay sites for delivering them traffic. I don't get it. The traffic is the benifit they get from Google, and now they want to be paid for the privelege of delivering them customers. If anyone can possibly explain the logic behind this, I'd like to hear it.
eWeek's Jim Rapoza says "Don't believe the RSS hype".
George Dearing on Radiant Digital says "Why shouldn't I believe the RSS hype?"
Scobleizer says "We needed a bit of anti-hype".
InsideGoogle says, "Is there a bit too much RSS hype anti-hype hyping?"
Hehe. I crack me up.
(via Findory Blogory)
The History Of Google
The story of Google, explained very comprehensively, from The Economist.
(Via Findory Blogory > Emergic.org)
Gmail Ads Being Tested Elsewhere
Google Blogoscoped has screen shots of Gmail ads being moved below emails, at least for some users. Gotta say, putting them over there is an annoyance, and defeats the purpose of having buttons at the bottom of the page.
Jeeves' World Tour
Want to see where Jeeves went on his world tour? Watch this Flash movie.
(via Search Engine Watch)
AOL Robots Try To Take Over The World
Apparently, AOL has had AIM robots for two years now. AIM robots are automated buddies you can IM and ask questions, and the system responds with your answer. Kind of like a more humanized search engine. Now AIM is trying to expand and popularize the program, adding a CitySearch robot, and promoting the existing ones more. Sounds like a novel approach to search. Has anyone used these to great success? Check out a listing of AIM robots here.
Google Toolbar Security Hole Exposed
Security Tracker has found a vulnerability that allows sites to run code via the Google Toolbar. A site can create code that can be accidentally run by the user, which loads the toolbar's "About" page and runs malicious code via that page. Google needs to prove it is serious about security by patching the toolbar fast.
(via Search Engine Lowdown and Search Engine Journal)
Side note: Has anyone noticed the Latin text in the Google Toolbar's About page? It reads "de parvis grandis acervus erit", which according to Webmaster World means roughly "Out of small things a great heap will be formed".
German Court Throws Out Google Keyword Lawsuit
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports:
A state court in Hamburg on Tuesday rejected a German company's lawsuit against Google Inc. over allegations the Internet search engine allows rival companies to buy ads using trademarked terms, an attorney said Tuesday.
Good news for Google hoping to fend off Geico and Rescuecom here in the U.S.
MyJeeves Is The Talk Of The Town
MyJeeves is getting coverage from everybody. Here are some links:
- Google Blogoscoped
- Boston.com - "Ask Jeeves' latest attempt to get a leg up on industry leaders Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc."
- Silicon Valley.com - "the most user-friendly of the lot"
- John Battelle's Searchblog - " look for related news from other search engines in the coming days and weeks"
- Search Engine Watch blog - "No doubt we'll see Yahoo, Google, MSN and AOL all bring out similar search history features in the future", "MSN had exactly this type of feature back in 1999... the feature was withdrawn the following year"
- Gary Price at Search Engine Watch notes that Ask Jeeves Local beta also launched, as well as Ask Jeeves news, which can also provide localized news
- Jeremy Zawodny's blog - "The relevancy is horrible!", "One odd thing is that the search box on My Jeeves defaults to 'Search MyJeeves' insead of 'Search the Web.'", "My Jeeves [gets] a B for the design and usability... Jeeves [gets] a D for search relevancy", "You might not find it all that useful, mostly due to the horrid relevancy"
- Geeking With Greg - "we aren't quite there yet"
- Search Engine Lowdown notes Teoma, the search index behind Jeeves and its subsidiaries, has been updated, with cached sites, related searches, and support for Flash and PDF files. - "With Google and MSN reportedly working on a desktop solution too"
- CNet - "Ask Jeeves has taken 20 or so years off the life of its Jeeves' butler", "Despite the modernization, Ask Jeeves is mainly keeping up with the Joneses with most of its new products", "Google has a clear head start [on the desktop", "Ask Jeeves has taken the lead in offering Web surfers the ability to store, personalize and manage search results"
- Infoworld - "index now has about 2 billion... documents, up from... 1.5 billion... six months ago... expected to grow to about 2.5 billion documents by the end of 2004", "in a distant fifth place Ask Jeeves with 1.9 percent [of all searches]"
- USA Today
- SEO Roundtable - "the most important change, is the release of Teoma 3.0"
- Search Engine News Journal - "If only Ask would stop serving 10 sponsored links for each search!
- Oakland Tribune - ""In some ways, we're the Fox network in terms of search. We're not NBC," [Jeeves VP Jim] Lanzone said."
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Added at 1:59:
Let me know of any others, so I can keep updating the list.
Boing Boing reports that Google snatched up Gbrowser.com back in April. Also, Mozilla bug reports contain hints of a Google branded browser. I gotta say, I see the security rationale for using Mozilla, since it is safer simply due to being less popular, but beyond that, I'm not sure why Google would want to go with it. Especially since it doesn't always work with every web page, so Google Browser users would have problems. Well, to each his own.
Finally, a Spam Notification!
Gmail now lets you know how many messages are in your spambox. Now, was that so hard?
(via Google Blogoscoped)
I'm Feeling Perky
Fagoogle: The Gay Search Engine. All it really is is a version of Google Search with a gay look. Fagoogle claims using it supports gay pride monetarily, but I see no ads that aren't being run by Google, so I don't know (unless its just a cheap version of site search with AdSense). I like the disclaimer, though: "Fagoogle.com is not owned, run, operated, viewed, conceived, sandboxed, or banned by Google.com.". Reminds me of a few other recent sites that have had big problems. Also interesting, Fagoogle claims to index "a googol of pages", rather than a number. Given recent problems with reporting the number of indexed pages, maybe Google's home page should try the same.
(via Google Blogoscoped)
The Jeeves Is Out Of The Bag
John Battelle didn't waste any time revealing the new Jeeves. MyJeeves brings you closer to the PersonalWeb, where you can save, annotate, and manage your results in personal folders. Like A9, your search history is saved and can be used in the future. Jeeves aims to give everyone their own personalized web index. Also, Jeeves will be launching its desktop search product in the fourth quarter, most likely ahead of Google and everybody else. This is major stuff. Innovation in search is coming fast and furious, and companies will have to work twice as fast just to keep up. Two major engines integrating search history will force Google to add it, and soon, mark my words. Personalization has been all the rage these last few weeks, and Google is the only player left in the cold. Google has sat back and watched A9 and Jeeves deliver some powerful blows. Will we see a major announcement from Google in the next few weeks? If you're a stockholder, you damn well better hope so.
Oh, and Jeeves is back, and much better looking.Definetly a nose job, tummy tuck, and tanning booth were involved.