Browsing "internet news"
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.
In it’s bid to digitize the world, Google has moved forward again in it’s application to digitize the worlds libraries. Lately however, things have taken a decidedly more serious turn with the Department of Justice weighing in with it’s concerns. The DoJ became the latest party to file its concerns about Google’s book settlement and it appears the search giant will have to either make tweaks to the deal, or allow the feds—and maybe even Congress—to poke around. You should be betting on the tweaks.
While there were some good points made by the DoJ :
The United States strongly supports a vibrant marketplace for the electronic distribution of copyrighted works, including in-print, out-of-print, and so-called “orphan” works. The Proposed Settlement has the potential to breathe life into millions of works that are now effectively off limits to the public. By allowing users to search the text of millions of books at no cost, the Proposed Settlement would open the door to new research opportunities. Users with print disabilities would also benefit from the accessibility elements of the Proposed Settlement, and, if the Proposed Settlement were approved, full text access to tens of millions of books would be provided through institutional subscriptions.
They also made it very clear, that there are valid concerns about the settlement as it exists now.
..the breadth of the Proposed Settlement – especially the forward-looking business arrangements it seeks to create – raises significant legal concerns. As a threshold matter, the central difficulty that the Proposed Settlement seeks to overcome – the inaccessibility of many works due to the lack of clarity about copyright ownership and copyright status – is a matter of public, not merely private, concern. A global disposition of the rights to millions of copyrighted works is typically the kind of policy change implemented through legislation, not through a private judicial settlement.
In the end, Google is most likely going to make a few tweaks to it’s compensation agreement and try to placate everyone as best as possible.
In a competition to find search engine bugs, Google came out on top of Bing, while also earning higher general praise than Microsoft’s new search engine. People in over 50 countries participated in the competition, held by uTest, a Southborough, Massachusetts based Q&A company.
While top spot went to Google earning the highest marks, almost a third of the testers were pleasantly surprised by Bing, and 10 percent said they’d make it their primary search engine, after having tested Google and Yahoo as well. Still, 90 percent said they’d be sticking with Google, valuing its search accuracy above all.
Testers actually found the fewest bugs in Yahoo, with just 70 problems, though less participants focused on this departing search engine compared to the other two major search engines. Testers found 130 bugs in Google, with 8 percent classified as “showstoppers”, while 321 bugs were discovered in Bing, 14 percent of them showstoppers.
It’s not clear how bugs are determined, but they pertain to technical, functional, and user interface issues. Because known bugs don’t qualify, Google probably gets a pass here, as there could be well-reported problems that don’t show up in the results. By comparison, with Bing being less than four months old, there’s plenty of room for new problems to arise.
More interesting is the survey that uTest solicited from its testers after the contest. Google dominated these surveys, as the top choice for accuracy, real-time relevance, and page load speeds. In all categories, Bing ranked second and Yahoo came in third. A small percentage of testers also tried Google Caffeine, and were generally impressed. One tester said results came back twice as fast as Google’s existing engine.
If the survey results are at all representative of all users, it’s a blow to Microsoft, which has tried to market Bing as turning up better search results. However, Microsoft may recognize it’s losing this battle, instead of turning to new, flashy features such as visual search.
Hail to the king baby..
So Google has turned out a rendition of visual searching the internet of sorts in the form of Fast Flip. If you were to take Bings Visual Search and compare it to Fast Flip, it’s an interesting match up.
Take Bings Visual Search first off. It provides you broad search parameters from cars, and movies, to handbags and famous people. Picking a category, you’re greeted with anywhere from 20 to hundreds of images which you can mouse over to get a little information, or click through and gain relevant search results on your choice. It can be handy, and quick and easy to use to help find that new purchase you may be interested in, or putting a name to the face of that kind from that movie from way back when.
The downside to Visual Search, especially right now, are that the categories are built by Bing. In the short term, this just means you may not be able to utilize the new feature to find your next suit, or next pair of sexy heels. From an SEO stand point, it doesn’t change anything, as when you click through on your choice, Bing still builds a relevant list of results from the pages on the web.
Now, taking a look at Googles Fast Flip service. The best explanation would be Fast Flip imitates a conventional print publication by offering screenshots of the web pages containing relevant articles. The idea is, as a user, it becomes a more engaging experience, akin to flipping through the pages of a magazine or newspaper. Hence the name, Fast Flip. The content is provided via feeds, think a visual form of RSS, of which Google has 35+ current news sources providing “content”. When a headline catches your eye, clicking on the desired image brings you directly to the corresponding page.
The upside of Fast Flip being that you get current and recent events at your fingertips. The downside that I’ve seen, I’ve gotten a couple of odd results when using the search box. Getting an article about pregnancy weight gain when searching for christmas. From a search engine optimization sense, because the pages are acquired from feeds like RSS, unless you’re a part of that particular service, you won’t be picked up by Fast Flip.