Browsing "internet news"
So all of the news lately is about 1 thing, maybe 2 if you want to be specific. Facebook, and Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook has been in the news because of it’s crashes/outings/downtime (choose your own term), and Zuck because of the $100 million donation he’s made.
The Facebook crashes led to some hilarious Twitter posts, my favorite being “American business reports an astounding 480% increase in productivity”. And of course some news outlets and activists used the outage, and the outcry over it, to try and drive home the point that Facebook(ing) is addictive and a time goblin. It’s a strong term to say that Facebook is an addiction, because Facebook at it’s core, is really just a database of names. It’s the plugins that have made it a destination, homepage and yes, even a hobby for some people. What Zuckerberg did right, was making the format adaptable to virtually any idea out there, much the same as Jobs did with Apple and the iProducts.
The largest difference between Jobs and Zuckerberg, I can see is cost. It doesn’t cost you anything to be able to use any of the Facebook apps/plugins/games, where as to own an Apple product, you’re going to be spending a minimum of $100 in most cases. It really should have been no surprise then, when it was mentioned that Mark Zuckerberg, has a larger personal worth than Steve Jobs.
In a way, it’s almost like the story in Field of Dreams. If you build it, they will come. And they did.. in the millions.
Can you Facebook?
It may seem intuitive to be able to use Facebook and it’s services. Maybe the problem was a comprehension issue then. A 14 year old English girl learned the hard way to always double check before you submit an event on Facebook. With her upcoming 15th birthday party, she’d decided that Facebooking the event would be the surest way to invite all of her friends to attend, neglecting however to privatise the affair. Instead of only having those she wished to attend, there were 21,000 attendees confirmed for the (now) gala event. Alas, the girls parents decided that perhaps having that many people at their house wouldn’t work, and called off the party, and even so the local police are ready for any surprise events.
That the girl made a simple enough mistake in not privatising her party to her invitees only, it opened the door that Facebooks privacy settings are too difficult to administer. To think, that all she had to do was actually read the page she was using to post the event, and uncheck the box labelled: Anyone can view and RSVP (public event) Accountability it seems, is never a personal responsibility.
So the big news so far this week would most definitely have to go to the newest change in Google search, Google Instant.
Google Instant is starting to roll-out to users on Google domains in the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Russia who use the following browsers: Chrome v5/6, Firefox v3, Safari v5 for Mac and Internet Explorer v8.
In a nutshell, Google is completetly your searches for you as you type, so no need to hit that enter button. They broke down the search time in a basic format. It takes about 9 seconds to type a query, 1 second to return results, and on average, 15 seconds to select your best choice. The idea, is that Instant will reduce search times by as much as 5 seconds!
Unless your a professional racer of some sorts, 5 seconds may not seem like a lot, but it can mean the difference between an ad impression, click through, or new visitor to your site. As a business owner, you need to decide and realize what your time, product and online presence are worth to you. Google Instant isn’t available widely, and can be shut off by users who dislike the service. But, what are you worth? Is your competitors site optimized better? Is your nearest rival perhaps in a better search position on the “normal” SERPs? With the looming introduction of permanent Instant, how much is your online brand worth to you? A difference of 5 seconds could mean the difference between a new contract, or being on the receiving end of a dusty unused website.
Google, Bing and all of the other search engines out there use bots to crawl the web to build their index. They’re programmed to crawl the web, review what they find and change or update as they find new pages. Recently, there’s been some concern with activity by the Microsoft spider bot.
Web masters who are diligent about visitor stats on their sites have noticed some errant bot activity from Microsofts end of the web. The activity that’s been found strange? The Microsoft web crawler, appears to be coming into websites cloaked. It’s something that’s happened before, that they were able to rectify, but this time calls to correct the problem have gone un-answered. A point which has raised the tiny hairs on webmasters necks, the bot isn’t just bouncing on a site once or twice over the course of a day or two. Some are reporting activity in the 10+ times per day range.
The silence about the activity, the cloaked visits and the multiple pings per day are all very erroneous activity from any spider bot. Let alone a bot owned and controlled by such a large internet property. Some webmasters, are even speculating.. has it perhaps been hacked?
If acquisitions are feathers in a companies hat, Google has quite the chapeau just from 2010. THeir most recent purchase of Angstro, is another plume for them. Angstro is a type of “personal professional search engine”, but perhaps they say it best.
Angstro represents the ability to hone in on highly focused, relevant news across professional networks. Where search engines such as Google and other news aggregator services have immense infrastructures that return a huge array of random results, Ångströ analyses a wide breadth of information from multiple data sources to deliver very few, yet very intelligent results.
Now any search engine isn’t entirely random, there’s relative results for any query you pose. With the shift in the change of Google’s SERPs, and the Bing/Yahoo marriage finalized, perhaps the addition of Anstro it affords another avenue.
So at last count, the potential social side of Google would comprise of such services as Orkut, Buzz, Latitude, GMail, Maps, Contacts, Calendar, iGoogle, YouTube, Vevo, Google Talk, Google Reader, Picasa, Profile, Docs, (the now abandoned Wave) and as well, their upcoming music service and reported Zynga investment.
They’re not looking to re-invent the wheel ala Facebook style, but at a conference a little back, they did have a slide representing online social time breakdown. Fifty percent of the time spent online, was spent on Zynga games Farmville and MafiaWars. When it comes to the web, and Google, there are no coincidences.
Bing and Yahoo have officially come together, with the results on the Yahoo SERPs being fully “Powered by Bing”. The process began 6+ weeks ago, with it finally being completed this past week.
Slowly and surely, Bing has replaced Yahoos results page with their own, so maybe it’s just me but, the recent market share numbers posted by Nielsen stats don’t make a difference in the search engine world. Google was sitting at 64% market share, while Yahoo and Bing have a combined 27% share. Sensationalizing results, is a method of the press, and what better way to grab attention than to say ‘BING UP 50%!!”
Now, Nielsen has Bing sitting at 13.6% market share on it’s own merit. This time, last year Bing (a repacked, remarketd Live search) was in it’s infancy at 2 months old, which at the time, Bing had 9% of the search market share. Here’s the sensationalizing part, 9% increased to 13.6%, is 4.6%, yay math. But since 4.6 is just a hair over half of 9, that means Bing grew by 51%!
In the end, the numbers don’t lie. Yahoo’s “market share” will essentially decrease over time until it’s just finally lumped in with Bing, and we’ll end up with Google on top, YaBing in second, and everyone else coming in respectively after the two major players. Online PC based search is slowing down a tad as well, with the advent of more intelligent and handy smart phones, but that’s a whole other ball of wax.
There’s a new Google test which has caught fire on the web discussions over the weekend. Google has been running a test algorithm segment which displays your search as you type. Dynamically updating the page as you add, change, or remove your query.
The assumption is that the test has been rolled out to those with only a very high speed connection, as the nature of the results being delivered is unknown. It may be from a cached, prefetch server based on your previous searches, but it also may be entirely and completely dynamic in nature. Automatically fetching the results as you add a term.
Couple this recent test, in with the article decrying that Google is set to allow domain dominance on a search page, it will change the landscape of the SEO game somewhat.
Today we’ve launched a change to our ranking algorithm that will make it much easier for users to find a large number of results from a single site. For queries that indicate a strong user interest in a particular domain, like [exhibitions at amnh], we’ll now show more results from the relevant site:Prior to today’s change, only two results from www.amnh.org would have appeared for this query. Now, we determine that the user is likely interested in the Museum of Natural History’s website, so seven results from the amnh.org domain appear. Since the user is looking for exhibitions at the museum, it’s far more likely that they’ll find what they’re looking for, faster. The last few results for this query are from other sites, preserving some diversity in the results.
This change could mean the difference in small business SEO, and will definitely encourage niche marketing campaigns. So it’s time to put on your creative thinking caps, hash out the creative copyright for your clients, and be ready to push for the niche search terms.
From a PR perspective though, it’s an interesting twist from Norvig’s comment earlier about wanting more diversity in search results. In having the second result to be as “different” from the first as possible to encourage diversity.
So the Wave crashed, the Buzz went out and Google has said clearly they’re not interested in doing “another Facebook”. With all of their purchases in the last while it’s obvious the search giant is working out the kinks for the social space in their own way. Rumored to be named Google Me, a glimpse of what may be part of their direction was showcased.
In October Google is expecting to launch their Google App store, for Google Chrome and Chrome OS. One of the highlights that was discucssed, was app devs keep all of the money made from their apps within the store, minus a 5% processing fee. A marked change from what was discussed at the Google I/O conference earlier in the year. Google App store is their version of the Apple store, but with the added focus on browser gaming and apps developed specifically for the web. The idea for the store at launch is to support paid apps, free apps and subscriptions for their (online social ?) store.
With all of their recent acquisitions, it’s no surprise that Google may by pushing into a social gaming, browser based environment. One of the demographics covered at the same conference where Google unveiled the new HTML5 changes, was the staggering growth rate of browser based games. The top 5 of which, were all Zynga games. Some people believe in coincidence, others make it happen.
It’s another step closer, the Micro(Ya)hoo results are starting to show on their SERPs. In a press announcement from July 20th, Yahoo outlined some tips and strategies that businesses and webmasters could follow to assist the transition into the new results pages.
This is an important step toward our goal of improving the overall relevance of Yahoo! organic search results and attracting a larger audience to Yahoo! Search, to ultimately put your ads in front of more potential customers.
Both Yahoo and Bing trail Google in the search wars, and with this new step in their alliance, they’ve closed the gap a little by joining forces. A quick check to see if you’re getting a brand new SERP page or not, is if a “powered by Bing” message is present at the bottom of the page. Yahoo is also working out the kinks and testing they’re beginning a limited test of the paid account transitions.
As well as their Site Explorer available until 2012, and Search Money available until October 2010, tools will still be available. And to add to the mix, as per their agreement, Yahoo and Bing will be exchanging information in order to just make everything work better. Being in the US or Canada, your search experience just got a little bit better because of the movement forward.
There’s been a world of anger in response to the Google-Verizon “net-neutrality” document which was submitted as ideas. And it’s no real surprise that based on the verbiage contained within it, that AT&T would want to sign on. The agreement after all, does include wireless networks to remain completely unregulated.
It’s been hacked apart, talked about, disected, and criticized on hundreds of pages around the web. But, if by some odd stroke of luck you’ve missed it, basically the document as it is currently written, proposes a somewhat; tiered internet experience. Think like your cable tv package you have at home. You pay a nominal fee for your normal programming, and if you want say movies or sports, you’d pay an extra fee for those channels. The current verbiage of the document is written in such a way. It’s outlined what would essentially be a privately controlled, tiered and structured internet experience. One article I’ve read actually compared to the “bottom tier” akin to the slums of a city. Where only the poor are found amongst liquor stores, dark alleys, and disturbing experiences.
With this one, single document, Google in particular, has taken a huge hit in terms of directly violating their own company motto: “Don’t be evil” There’s been talk of this being the beginning of the end, of a supposed future, that should the regulations be adopted as is, that everyone’s online experience would change. And it would be the beginning of the end of the internet. You can find the the blog by Google outlining the proposal here.