For the last few months, Google has been working on self improvement classes so to speak. One of the mantras which the giant embraces:
To build a great web search engine, you need to:
1. Crawl a large chunk of the web.
2. Index the resulting pages and compute how reputable those pages are.
3. Rank and return the most relevant pages for users’ queries as quickly as possible.
So you need to be able to be mobile, intelligent, and fast. It’s no shock to anyone out there that Google has the largest index on the web, boasting some trillions of pages indexed. And of course, there is often a lot of wheat to be seperated from the chaff, which Google has always been (somewhat) brilliant at. Sometimes results were a little skewed, but that’s the price you pay for trying to be the biggest and the best, all at once. Speed, which never seems to be a factor when searching for your interest, *can* be a problem, depending on maintenance, downed data centers, connection hiccups, etc..
For good or for evil, Google is with us, and so deeply entrenched within the internet, it’s hard to imagine the web without it. Following the news this morning, that Google is ready to let their newest tech out of the door, Caffeine, get ready for the giant to go.. faster.
Like the bionic man, the aim of Caffeine is to make Google bigger, stronger, faster, and just all around better. While the average searcher/user probably won’t notice a difference, the idea that Google is about to get better at sorting relevant results, and faster at picking them up, is an exciting prospect as an SEO.
OneRiot, a real-time search engine for web and video content, has launched a new Twitter search engine with a unique angle: Rather than focus on what people are saying, the search engine focuses on the web pages people are linking to.
But whenever the subject of real-time search and/or Twitter search comes up, inevitably the argument heads to “too much meaningless chatter to find anything of value”. It’s a generally fair argument. But OneRiot thinks it’s found a way to cut through the layers of noise.
How Does It Work?
One Riot crawls Twitter, looking for tweets with embedded links, then crawls and indexes the content being linked to. The OneRiot search algorithm includes spam checking and has checks for relevance, and a “hotness” factor for URLs that are being talked about a lot in recent tweets.
As you do a search, you can see the focus is on content — the URLs people are discussing and sharing on Twitter. But Twitter being a social site, OneRiot’s search results also include some social elements for anyone who wants to dip into the conversation. Each result includes a reference to how recently the link was shared on Twitter, how many tweets mention it, and who first posted it on Twitter.
It’s a unique approach to Twitter search that should prove particularly beneficial to the business community embracing social media advertising. In a short time testing the service, I found that it does bypass a lot of the chatter, and leads more quickly to relevant content. And there’s convenience too, in that OneRiot’s search expands shortened links, so you can see the actual content link.
An alpha version of their Twitter search engine is available now at twitter.oneriot.com.
In what may be a massive shift in the industry, Google announced the release of voice search for Mandarin Chinese for Nokia S60 phones. If Google gets it right, because of the massive population in China. It could drive more search usage and frequency. Google trails Baidu for search on the PC, but mobile search represents an opportunity for Google to grow share in that largest of all internet markets.
Google now says it understands a range of English accents, and Mandarin although it doesn’t yet get all accents in Mandarin. In addition, the capability will be coming soon to the Android and iPhone platforms in China. Dell has introduced a yet-to-be released Android handset (Mini 3i) and the iPhone just launched with the number two Chinese mobile carrier China Unicom. According to the Google Blog:
Although this only works on the Nokia S60 at the moment, we’re working on adding support for Mandarin speech recognition to our products on other mobile platforms, such as Android and iPhone. And bear in mind that this is a first version of our system in Mandarin, and it might not be as polished as our English version. For example, if you have a strong southern Chinese accent, it might not work as well as for people with a Beijing accent…
With almost 700 million mobile users in China, that’s more than 2X the US population as a whole. China Unicom reportedly has roughly 140 million subscribers, while the largest US carrier Verizon, has 89 million mobile subscribers. China Mobile, the largest carrier in China, has roughly 500 million users.
It’s everywhere, on cabs, on bus stops, in the papers, on the radio.. social media. “Find us on Facebook! Twitter with us!” etcetera, but really, how prevalent is this lucrative advertising medium?
Interaction with larger companies, brand names, was up to 78% of all social media activists; an overall increase of 32% from 2008. And of all users, 95% believe that not only should big brands have a social media presence of some sort, and 89% of all users believe that active interaction should be taking place in this manner.
As for customer experience tieing into social networking (a survey conducted by Tealeaf via Econsultancy), 75% or respondants ahve said their choice of retailer was influenced by what was read on social media sites, while 56% admitted to avoiding a company after a bad review had been posted. In total, 51% of respondents came about as being influenced by what they have seen on social media sites.
All business can benefit by exploring, and taking advantage of all advertising opportunities available to them, but small business owners tend to benefit most as the ROI (return on investment), most often only your time, is greatest. And yet, only 9% of small business owners take advantage of Twitter as a means to market themselves. 32% of small business owners intend to use social media networking within the next year however, and 39% plan to include customer reviews and ratings on their site.
Just in the US, Facebook popularity increased by 194% through to September 2009, launching it into the number 1 social network spot, with 59% of all US visitors to social networking sites. Myspace, came in at the number 2 spot with 30% of market share, a drop of 55% from September 2008. Bringing up the back end was Tagged at 2% and Twitter with 1.9% of the market visits. Twitter, being the newest player to the field should definitely not be discounted however. Getting Mom and dad online has helped, as usage of social networking rose by 77% by users over 55.
Today, Google launched their OneBox music service in the US, allowing searchers to use the site to find song titles, or artists using snippets of lyrics and will also stream sought-after tracks. OneBox is an alliance with music sites Lala and the MySpace-owned iLike.
With the terms “music” and “lyrics” being among the top 10 searches of all time on Google, it really only lends the giant more power in the online universe. An added bonus, is with having music libraries more readily accessible to search and purchase, to pull more consumers into the fold as opposed to the songs just being torrented, downloaded illegally.
When a user searches for a song they like, a pop up box, from Lala or iLuke, will play the entire song. Another popup, a MySpace box allows people to buy MP3s of the track(s) and also highlights music videos and other information, such as upcoming concerts by the artists.
“At Google, we see millions of music-related queries every day, it is clear to us that for our users music holds a very special and particular place.” said the company’s vice president of search Marissa Mayer at the launch in Los Angeles.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers – (ICANN), the folks who help make the Internet go ’round, are in the final stages of passing a proposal to introduce non-Latin characters to web addresses. Who knew that all this time, those www.urlhere addresses were latin, that’s greek to me..
This is an incredibly huge change. Aside from being one of the biggest changes to domain names since the Internet was created, 40+ years ago, it also finally takes into consideration that more than half the Internet’s users’ native languages contain non-Latin characters. In a very real sense, it represents the liberty of the Internet.
What this means, is we’re going to start seeing more of these urls:
instead of the same old freshtraffic.ca addresses. If everything goes according to plan, we may start seeing the new urls as early as November 16th.
In the realm of SEO, this will definitely change some strategies, as companies can now start thinking about how their urls and associated text is translated, if they have an overseas presence. You may soon find yourself falling out of favor with international visitors in that sense, but gaining more localized business. It goes both ways in that end.
In a sense at least, a sleeping giant is being laid to rest. Geocities, once the internets third most visited url, will be 404′d. It was one of the first Web sites that offered ordinary Web users the chance of a piece of the action. It was the Google, Yahoo!, or YouTube of its day.
A (somewhat) easy to use platform to build your site, it was a stepping stone for many of todays web developers and scripters, and opened the gateway to the accessible web. Very basic HTML tables, generic graphics, and pixelated fonts were the norm for the millions of Geocities pages which went up over the it’s lifetime.
Google Wave was unleashed for public testing recently, with 100,000 invites being sent out; and with those a batch of invites, tied to the invites (think Gmail at it’s inception).
Catch the Wave, it’s setting itself to be the most interactive, social media collaberation idea out there. Email, instant messaging, documents, which can be edited by a list of people selected by you, it’s a step to making the internet just a little more accessible. Google has a love affair with making information freely available, from their book digitizing (currently on hold), to the actual search engine and indexing of the majority of the internet, to handing out free services like Gmail, and now the Wave service.
Wave itself is still a good few months off yet, admittedly still buggy in their own blog writings, but when the Wave gets rolling, it would be best to be on it and ready for the ride.
With it’s seat firmly set on being the king of search, Google is constantly growing, and evolving. It’s a living, breating, life sustaining organ of the web, and as such, any moment of service problems is almost immediately noticeable.
Gmail, Google news, Blogger, Youtube etc. the list of companies under Googles umbrella, and in their repetoire is quite large, and seeing as acquisitions are once again on the table, soon to be growing. With such a huge toolkit of technologies available to them, it should be understandable that the odd disruption of service were to happen; even though it is rare.
And now, with Google encouraging users to change their productivity apps from the desktop, to the “cloud”, loss of service is beginning to become an issue. Not because it happens every day, or even if it happens once a month. The simple idea behind cloud computing being having “your computer” available to you anywhere is an incredible incentive. But, if when you go to use the cloud, you can’t access it because of a glitch, programming error, someone trips on a plug etc, it is a problem.
It’s like showing up to your current workplace, and your computer just not booting up. And the tech manager, is in the next city over, trying to communicate to you what’s wrong over the phone, but because he’s using sign language you can’t tell what’s going on, or when it’s going to be fixed. All you can do, is wait until then.
Cloud computing, may very well end up being the greatest boon to business productivity the world has seen to date. But as of right now, it’s still a brand new technology, and as such, will encounter hiccups, glitches, crashes, and downtime. Should Google be knocked, stripped, and beaten down for it? Not in my opinion, but everyone has their own.
For everything that Google does impressively, how easy is it to forget, when they’re trying to make a step into a previously, unknown sector.