21 июл. 2006 г.

Google Accessible Search - поиск для людей с нарушением зрения

Библиотека Сайтостроительства:


В прошлом людям с нарушением зрения приходилось бессмысленно тратить огромное количество времени, разбирая ссылки в результатах поиска на ресурсы, перегруженные графикой, с запутанной навигацией и чрезмерным количеством элементов и объектов, не имеющих отношения к запрашиваемому контенту.

Accessible Search - продукт Лабораторий Google, разработанный, чтобы идентифицировать и расположить по приоритетам результаты поиска, которые в большей степени адаптированы для восприятия слепыми и пользователями со слабым зрением. Традиционный Google Search помогает найти информацию, наиболее релевантную вашему запросу. Accessible Search позволяет из такого набора результатов выделить и предоставить пользователю ссылки на страницы с наиболее доступным контентом.

Google Accessible Search

В текущей версии, Google Accessible Search анализирует HTML код документа и пытается определить качество отображаемой на странице информации. Так, к примеру, приоритет будет отдаваться тем страницам, которые одинаково корректно смотрятся как при обычном просмотре, так и, скажем, с выключенными картинками. Google Accessible Search основан на технологии Google Co-op's, которая улучшает результаты поиска, основанные на специализированных интересах.

Google Accessible Search - естественное и важное расширение глобального сервиса поиска Google, призванное еще лучше организовать информацию в сети и сделать результаты поиска максимально доступными для всех. При ранжировании результатов поиска учитывается не только релевантность запросу и рейтинг страницы (одним из показателей которого является ее PageRank), но и такие факторы, как простота документа, умеренное количество графики, возможность клавиатурной навигации, отсутствие вторичных элементов - рекламных баннеров или информационных вставок не по теме. В списки окончательнных результатов поиска попадают те сайты, информация с которых без проблем может быть озвучена специальными программами, озвучивающими заданный текст, а так же просмотрена с помощью лупы.

В сети можно найти достаточно информации о том, как адаптировать веб-сайты и страницы для людей слепых и со слабым зрением. W3C публикует рекомендации, в частности - Web Content Access Guidelines - специальное руководство для сайтостроителей и владельцев сайтов, в котором изложены основные принципы, как создать сайт, соответствующий критериям универсальности и доступности.

20 июл. 2006 г.

Google exec challenges Berners-Lee

By Candace Lombardi, CNET News.com

A Google executive challenged Internet pioneer Tim Berners-Lee on his ideas for a Semantic Web during a conference in Boston on artificial intelligence.

On Tuesday, Berners-Lee, the father of the Web and the current director of the World Wide Web Consortium, gave the keynote on artificial intelligence and the Semantic Web at a conference sponsored by the American Association for Artificial Intelligence (AAAI).

He said the next stage of the Web is about making data accessible for artificial intelligence to locate and analyze. A Semantic Web, a Web with linked data easily readable by machines, would make available more knowledge for reuse in serendipitous applications by people and organizations who are not the ones who originally created or published the information, Berners-Lee said.

The speech covered Berners-Lee's known proposal for Web developers to use semantic languages in addition to HTML. He stressed the importance of using persistent URIs (Uniform Resource Identifiers) and RDF (Resource Description Framework) for identifying information. Consistent use of these specifications, said Berners-Lee, will allow the Semantic Web to maintain the collaborative nature the World Wide Web was originally intended to have.

At the end of the keynote, however, things took a different turn. Google Director of Search and AAAI Fellow Peter Norvig was the first to the microphone during the Q&A session, and he took the opportunity to raise a few points.

"What I get a lot is: 'Why are you against the Semantic Web?' I am not against the Semantic Web. But from Google's point of view, there are a few things you need to overcome, incompetence being the first," Norvig said. Norvig clarified that it was not Berners-Lee or his group that he was referring to as incompetent, but the general user.

"We deal with millions of Web masters who can't configure a server, can't write HTML. It's hard for them to go to the next step. The second problem is competition. Some commercial providers say, 'I'm the leader. Why should I standardize?' The third problem is one of deception. We deal every day with people who try to rank higher in the results and then try to sell someone Viagra when that's not what they are looking for. With less human oversight with the Semantic Web, we are worried about it being easier to be deceptive," Norvig said.


"While you own the data that's fine, but when somebody breaks and says, 'If you use our enterprise system, we will have all your data in RDF. We care because we've got the best database.' That is much more powerful," Berners-Lee said. To illustrate his stance, he used the example of bookstores initially withholding information on stock levels and purchase price but then breaking them as others did.

Berners-Lee agreed with Norvig that deception on the Internet is a problem, but he argued that part of the Semantic Web is about identifying the originator of information, and identifying why the information can be trusted, not just the content of the information itself.

"Google is in a situation to do wonderful things, as it did with the Web in general, and add a whole other facet to the graphs--the rules that are testing which data source. It will be a much richer environment," Berners-Lee told the search giant executive.

19 июл. 2006 г.

Google rolls out click-to-play video ads

By Rhys Blakely:

Google today announced it is rolling out click-to-play video adverts in the UK, a move designed to up the already intense pressure the internet advertising leader is placing on traditional television networks.

In what will seem a counter-intuitive strategy to many consumers used to dodging adverts on conventional television stations, the new Google ads, which have already been piloted in the United States, Canada and Japan, will only begin playing when a user clicks on them.

"To protect the user experience, click-to-play video ads are user-initiated. As a result, advertisers get more engaged users and qualified leads," Google said.

The move comes as Google battles to increase its share of the overall advertising market. While online advertising is growing rapidly, it still only accounts for a small portion of total marketing spending.

Broadcast and cable TV advertising in the United States will be worth approximately $38 billion this year, according to Universal McCann, a prize on which online groups including Google and rivals Yahoo and Microsoft are firmly focused.

In part, internet companies are banking on advertisers being drawn away from TV through the high level of targeting possible through online video ads.

Google’s click-to-play video ads can be targeted to specific sites or contextually. Pricing for click-to-play video ads can be either cost-per-impression or cost-per-click, Google said.

Users who want to view the adverts press "play" on the control bar at the bottom of the advert window to start the video. Advertisers will be able to measure the effectiveness of their video ads by tracking video play-back rates, click-through rates to their destination site, as well as how long users play a video.

The ads will be triggered to appear on third-party web pages covered by Google's AdSense system.

The service is designed to diversify Google away from the simple text-based ads that account for the bulk of its revenues. Last week the company launched its online video service, Google Video in the UK.

For examples of how Google's new adverts work click here.

Google Still Has AFP In Its News

David A. Utter:

  • Agence France-Presse complained bitterly about its content being retrieved by Google News and asked them to stop doing so; apparently Google is still pulling AFP content into News.
That content comes from a variety of websites, as IDG News discovered in a quick search of Google News. Since AFP sued Google last March about this, and Google agreed to remove "text, thumbnails of photos, and headlines linked to (AFP) articles in external Web sites," the report said.

A number of news sites, including prominent ones like the New York Times and Bloomberg, reference AFP as a source and byline for stories. These references, in turn, appear in Google News.

I took a few moments to scan the first one hundred results in a Google News search for Agence France-Presse. None of the stories presented came directly from the AFP website, nor were any images from AFP present in those results.

Google News does not license content from those sites appearing in its results. AFP only makes its content available to licensors, and viewed Google's indexing of it for News results a copyright violation, the article noted.

The whole issue could be decided Tuesday. Both AFP and Google meet in US District Court in Washington DC to discuss the progress of the litigation. IDG News noted that Google's position contends a dismissal is in order, as AFP has not identified instances of copyright violation.

Out of online news sites, Google and everyone else trails Yahoo News in market share. A Hitwise report for the week ending July 1st had Yahoo News at 6.35 percent of the market, while Google News rated 7th at 1.74 percent.

18 июл. 2006 г.

META NODP tag

В конце прошлой недели было объявлено о том, что Google теперь поддерживает мета тег NODP. Суть в чем. Известно, что часто поисковые системы используют дескрипшн сайта в каталоге DMOZ для текстового описания сего сайта в результатах поиска. Но нравится это не всем владельцам сайтов, по одной простой причине - быстро по необходимости сменить описание в поиске практически невозможно.
Нужно писать заявку в администрацию каталога DMOZ, и далеко не факт, что эту заявку быстро рассмотрят или даже - рассмотрят вообще.

Для некоторых владельцев сайтов наличие сайта в DMOZ становится не помощью, а сущим наказанием. Кроме отсутствия гибкой и оперативной поддержки пользователей есть еще авторитетное мнение редакторов разделов каталога, которые считают, что лучше знают, как составить описание сайта и что там нужно написать.
К сожалению - далеко не всегда эти описания бывают удачными. И потом именно они используются в качестве сниппетов в результатах поиска.

Теперь, если владелец сайта, с одной стороны, не планирует убирать сайт из каталога DMOZ, а с другой - хочет самостоятельно управлять тем, как будет описан сайт в поиске, он может просто включить в заголовок соответствующий метатег:
  • <meta name="robots" content="noodp">
И как бы все. Через несколько (3-4-5) дней ДМОЗовское описание проигнорируется.

Я эту информацию вычитала из блога Matt Cutts, который, в свою очередь, ссылается на заметку Ванессы Фокс Google now supports the META NODP tag.

В том же постинге Мэтта есть ссылка на статью “25 Things I Hate About Google” - рекомендую.

Microsoft предостерегает Google от занятия корпоративным поиском

Автор: Майк Риччути (Mike Ricciuti), CNET News.com
Источник: Microsoft warns Google off enterprise search
перевод: ZDNet.Ru

Microsoft вступает в борьбу с Google на рынке корпоративного поиска.

«Поиск для предприятий — это наш бизнес, это наш дом, и пусть Google не смеет покушаться на этот бизнес», — сказал операционный директор Microsoft Кевин Тернер, выступив в четверг на конференции перед более чем 7000 бизнес-партнеров.


Это самое крупное собрание, к которому обращался Тернер, и всего второе его выступление на конференциях Microsoft с тех пор, как он пришел в компанию из Wal-Mart 11 месяцев назад.

Тернер сказал, что в ближайшие месяцы компания собирается также выступить против IBM, Oracle и других конкурентов с новыми продуктами. Однако самые резкие выражения он приберег для Google. «Этим людям нельзя позволить красть еду из нашей тарелки, а они собираются делать именно это», — сказал он.

В последние месяцы Google представила новые поисковые программы. Но компания не обнародовала своих общих планов в сфере корпоративного поиска.

На этой неделе генеральный директор Microsoft Стив Баллмер назвал поиск — хлеб и масло Google — одним из главных объектов инвестиций своей компании. «Поиск — от локального диска до предприятия и до интернета — это бизнес огромного значения и чрезвычайно важный для нас рынок», — сказал он во вторник.

По словам Баллмера, емкость рынка корпоративного поиска превышает $13 млрд, и ориентируясь на это направление, компания сотрудничает с 35 партнерами.

До конца будущего года Microsoft планирует выпустить операционную систему Windows Vista, комплекс настольных программ Office 2007, операционную систему Windows Server, Dynamics Live CRM и многие другие продукты. Тернер сказал, что это «выброшенные на рынок $20 млрд исследований и разработок».

Интересы Microsoft и Google на рынке корпоративного ПО все больше пересекаются. Поисковый гигант выпустил такие продукты, как Google Spreadsheets и Google Calendar, которые несут в себе угрозу для бизнеса настольных приложений Microsoft. Но компания еще не прояснила своих планов в других областях, таких как работа с текстом.

Угроза оказалась достаточной, чтобы заставить Microsoft реорганизовать свой бизнес и сосредоточиться на онлайновых услугах под марками Windows Live и Office Live.

16 июл. 2006 г.

Oops, Mom Googled Me

By Kerry Madden

When the writer mocked her Republican parents, she never figured her mother would find out.

JUST IN TIME for "google" to become an official verb, my mother learned how to google. About a week ago. She figured it out herself even though, less than a year ago, she thought high-speed Internet access was strictly for impatient people, namely her adult children. When she finally agreed to give up dial-up, it opened up a whole new world: googling.

And so last week, my mother decided to google, and for fun, she googled me. Then she clicked on an essay I'd written called "9 Tips for Surviving the Holidays at Your Republican Parents' Home." It was published in the LA Weekly in 2004.

The only newspapers to grace my parents' door are the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Wall Street Journal, the Catholic Digest and maybe, in a pinch, USA Today. My father, a former football coach, used to hate the New York Times because it had no self-respecting sports page. Now he just hates it for the liberal rag that it is, and he feels the same way about the Los Angeles Times.

So I figured I was safe writing a little 900-word satire for the LA Weekly. I mean, who of my parents' generation and political bent reads the Weekly? The bulk of my mother's e-mails are forwards on moms or kids or dogs or jokes or Erma Bombeck's purple hat musings. I never dreamed she would venture to Google and happen upon the piece in which I liberally trash Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, box wine and the holidays. Now my mother is no longer speaking to me.

My last e-mail from her was something like this: "I googled you and found 'How to Survive the Holidays With Your Republican Parents.' Why didn't you share that one?" Why indeed?

In my guilt, I've sent them summer reading and care packages. But they are silent. They are hurt. They go out of their way to make Christmas special with feasts, presents, highballs — and their ungrateful daughter mocks their politics and religion. So I don't blame them. I wouldn't speak to me either.

The very first time my mother found something egregious I'd written was in 1987, and dark days ensued. I was living with my brand-new husband in my parents' basement. During that time, I finished a terrible play that featured a domineering mother who ropes her daughter into moving in with the grandparents, who are in failing health, while she flees to live the good life.

And I had the gall/lack of imagination to set it in my grandparents' home in Leavenworth, Kan. My mother found the play, read it and recognized every insidious detail, from the Reader's Digest Condensed Books to the frozen OJ cans stuffed with fast-food condiments and A&W's two-for-one Chili-Dog Tuesdays.

It struck a nerve.

Me (strangled): I have to write about what I know!

Mother (devastated): Ha! What do you even think you know?

Me: What do you think Tennessee Williams and Eugene O'Neill wrote about?

Mother: Well, all I have to say is that you put yourself in VERY HIGH COMPANY, MISSY!

The fight disintegrated into slinging accusations and huffy silence.

My father said to her: "If you don't want her to write about you, don't talk to her, because that's what writers do. They write down what we say."

My mother shrieked at him, "How do you know what writers do?"

"Well, I don't exactly, but I guess that's what they do, and we've got one in the family," my father replied.

Now I'm nearly the same age as my mother when she read the lousy play, and I've written many stories, books, plays and articles since that time. Plenty have focused on the politics and religion in my family, but I've never shared a single story that I thought would cause pain to my parents.

But the vitriol of talk radio and talking-head TV and the ghosts of Rush and Bill lingering at the holidays over the years has been painful. So the lively discussions and/or shouting matches tattooed themselves on my brain, and I wrote down many of them to try to figure how it happened.

We grew up on sportsmanship and a positive attitude. Whining wasn't tolerated. Kids who whined got to vacuum, so we learned to "suck it up." Politics weren't discussed when real life was about beating Nebraska or Alabama, but it was a understood that we were Catholics and Democrats, in that order.

It was only when my father retired and Limbaugh and O'Reilly took to the airwaves that my parents became steadfast Republicans, and their newfound fervor for the right was served up along with the turkey.

Without politics and religion, my parents are the most wonderful, generous and gracious people, but throw in politics and it's time to duck behind the yucca tree.

Mother finally called a moratorium on all politics at the holidays after my husband parodied Fox News in a puppet show, igniting a fury — a wine glass flung, buttons ripped, children rushing from the room.

And so I've written down the talk in fiction, drama and essay. I've written it down to understand it … maybe to exorcise the demons. It wasn't to humiliate or hurt them. It wasn't to attack them. It wasn't even for their eyes, but Mother found it anyway, googling. I think I'll send roses next.

Using Google Alerts to Help Your Business

At times it seems that Google releases more new products and services than we can keep track of. From Google Calendar and Google Video, to Google Base, Google Finance, and Google Trends, it can be overwhelming just to remember what each one does. One of the oft overlooked hidden gems in Google's enormous offering is Google Alerts. Within minutes, you can be signed up for email alerts that can give you and your business a leg up on the competition. Alerts can be used to spy on competitors, keep track of what people are saying about your business, or follow an important news story.

How Does It Work

Google Alerts sends you an email each time a new page for your chosen term makes it in the top twenty results on Google's web search. You can also have the alert che"ck Google News and/or Google Groups. To sign up for a Google Alert, all that you need to do is visit the Google Alerts homepage, enter the search term, type of alert (search Google News, Google Groups, or the web), frequency of emails (daily, as it happens, or weekly), and your email address. You can set up alerts for as many terms as you like using a Google Account. So why would you want an unli'mited amount of alerts? Because as a business owner, you have a lot to keep track of and very limited time to do it.

Spy on Your Competitors

Every business has a competitor. More likely, you have several direct competitors and several more indirect competitors. While regularly checking out their websites is an important part of the process, it doesn't provide a whole picture. A competitor's website is very much crafted to the image that they want to portray to their customers. This is great if you want to know what their latest sale is or how much their new product costs, but it isn't likely to feature a negative review in last Sunday's newspaper.

That's where Google Alerts comes in. By simply setting up a News, Groups, and search alert for each of your competitors, you will know what other people are saying about your competition – both the media and consumers, both good and bad.

Keep Up To Date on Your Industry

Equally as important as what people are saying about your competition is what people are saying about your industry in general. If there's a negative PR swing against violent video games, and you just happen to run a video game store, you will probably be affected. By receiving alerts on important key words related to your industry, you can be on top of any sudden changes and react accordingly. By the time your competition realizes what's happening they will be scrambling to catch up to you.

Track Yourself and Your Business

It goes without saying, if it's important to know what people are saying about your competitors and about your industry, it would stand to reason that it's important to know what people are saying about you. I have Google Alerts on both my name and my business name. I know that they go hand in hand - if one is getting slandered you better bet it will hurt the other. By receiving alerts, you can be on top of anything negative relating to you or your business, and hopefully nip any problem in the bud before it grows too large. On the flip side, there's nothing better than receiving an alert where someone praises your business. Those are the types of things that you want to make sure are on the PR page of your business website.

Get News Stories for Your Site or Blog

I own a site where I do weekly news updates about what's going on in the industry. Some weeks, there are tons of news items to choose from, other weeks it's hard to find anything. In addition to the regular industry news sites that I che"ck to get information, I have Google Alerts set up for each of the key terms. You'd be surprised how frequently a unique story from a local newspaper pops up in Google News. Many times these stories haven't been seen by my competitors and I am able to "break" the news to the online community. This works well for blogs too – if you have a daily blog about being an entrepreneur, having an alert for the word "entrepreneur" can fetch you several quality stories each day to help inspire fresh posts.

In this increasingly competitive business world, you need each and every leg up on your competition that you can get. Used properly, Google Alerts can be an extremely efficient way to track what's going on across the web. The alternative would be to search each term every day for new updates. Who has time for that? Spending less time researching enables you to spend more time on the things important to your business.


About The Author
Adam McFarland owns iPrioritize – simple to-do lists that can be edited at any time from any place in the world. Email, print, che"ck from your mobile telephone, subscribe via RSS, and share with others.

Bentley Strengthens Connections to Google Earth and Google SketchUp

aecnews.com:

Bentley has increased its connections to Google SketchUp and Google Earth in recent days. As the leading vendor of design and engineering tools for large construction and geospatial projects, Bentley’s continued investment is one more proof of the professional value of Google’s GIS and AEC products and the need for mainstream CAD and GIS vendors to support the Google line.

Users of Bentley’s MicroStation XM and the current version of Bentley Architecture can now import Google SketchUp 3D designs. In addition, Bentley has established a direct connection to the Google 3D Warehouse, enabling users easy access from within MicroStation to thousands of SketchUp models.

Bentley users can also read SketchUp files (SKP) in MicroStation and then save them as MicroStation DGN files. For example, this would allow a user to work in SketchUp on a conceptual massing model of a building, and then open that same model for further refinement with the more discipline-specific Bentley Architecture. In addition, the SKP file can be referenced into MicroStation in its native format without translation. (MicroStation also does this for AutoCAD DWG files.) For example, a user could view a building design created in MicroStation in the context of city surroundings modeled in SketchUp—all without converting the SKP file to DGN. Once the SketchUp model is attached as a reference file within MicroStation, the user has full control over it and is able to turn the model’s layers on or off.

Bentley says it will support the ability to export data from MicroStation to SketchUp in the near future.

To use Google 3D Warehouse from within MicroStation, a user can drag a model from the website to the appropriate location in a DGN file. The user can work on the SketchUp model as if it were native MicroStation data. For example, a user could run a radiosity rendering on a model imported from Google 3D Warehouse.

The second version of Bentley’s Google Earth Tools for MicroStation is now out for beta testing. In addition to fixing a few bugs discovered in the first release, the new version features the ability to capture terrain and imagery from Google Earth Version 4 for use in MicroStation, and allows playback of MicroStation camera animations in Google Earth. Regarding the animation support, Bentley’s release notes comment: “We’re hopeful that sometime in the near future Google Earth will have native animation support, but in the interim, this tool combined with the Google Earth Professional Movie Maker module can be used to create effective presentation aids.”

The new Google Earth support is only compatible with the commercial release of MicroStation XM.

Google Yellow Pages? Google SERPs map enhanced local directory listings

Donna Bogatin:

Is Google planning the "World's Yellow Pages"?

Google Search Results Pages (SERPs) are returning prominent, enhanced, top-of-the-page “Yellow Pages Style” listings for individual business lookups.

The Google “Yellow Pages Style” top-of-the-page enhanced listings feature:

  • Large interactive map (3.5” x 1.5”) with business location indicated
  • Business name
  • Trackable business Website URL link
  • Complete business address
  • Business telephone number
  • Business “Star” ratings
  • Link to reviews of business
  • Link to directions to business
  • Link to “more local results”

DMM71606GYP.JPG

The content featured in Google “Yellow Pages Style” top-of-the page listings suggests Google is targeting future listings enhancements to further monetize and leverage Google SERPs.

Google has integrated Google Checkout with AdWords. The Google "Yellow Pages Style" top-of-the-page enhanced listings also present many opportunities for Google to solicit more money from its current advertisers, as well as attract new advertisers.

Here are my revenue-generating suggestions for "Google Yellow Pages":

  • Business telephone number: Pay-Per-Call or Click-To-Call
  • Business name: Video advertisement showcasing business
  • Business Website URL: Google Checkout for online purchase
  • Business Rating/Reviews: Click for Reservation
  • Directions to Business: Click for Car Service

The Google “Yellow Pages Style” enhanced, top-of-the-page listings are returned for individual business lookups, such as a specific restaurant, and location-specific business searches, such as a search for restaurants in a specific city.

The Google “Yellow Pages Style” enhanced, top-of-the page listings may ultimately supplant Google’s "Local results for" feature:

DMM71606GL.JPG

I have been tracking Google’s steady vertical integration with Google.com. SEE:

“Google.com ‘refinement boxes’: future classifieds ‘complete solution’?”

“Google Base obtains the world’s content for free, Google.com capitalizes on it”

"Google targets $100 billion Yellow Pages industry?"

Saturday, July 15, 2006

outer-court.com:


This is new, I think...

When you search Google for e.g. sf mortgage broker you’ll see a direct “onebox” result of a map on top of the site results, as Michael McNeeley notes. As opposed to Google Maps though this is just a static image, which is a bit confusing as Google now uses the same interface metaphors to mean two different things (you’re supposed to click on this map but you can’t drag it, and clicking on the red marker will not expand the info bubble, but switch to another page).


This is a bit older...

7% of doctors recommend Google, 4% recommend Yahoo!

zdnet.com:

79% of physicians reported that they encourage patients to use the Internet for medical information. When asked what Web site they frequent most often for medical information, 31% of consumers reported utilizing WebMD. Search engines Google and Yahoo! earned 7% and 4% of mentions, respectively, followed by the Mayo Clinic with 3% of mentions. 10% of consumers surveyed indicated that they had ordered prescription products over the Internet. Notably, older consumers were significantly more likely to order prescriptions over the Web; 26% of respondents age 55+ reported that they had ordered prescriptions online, compared with 17% of consumers younger than 55. Medco.com received the largest share of consumer responses for the Web site visited to order prescription products online (26%). ExpressScripts.com ranked second with 11% of all consumer mentions, followed by Walgreens.com with 9%, Verispan says.

Google News: Getting a Little Too Personal?

Posted by Fons Tuinstra, poynter.org

I'm an avid user of Google News in every language I'm able to read, but yesterday they went one step too far.

Google News
I saw this offer first at their Dutch news search and not yet in other languages, so I guess this is a beta service not available in many languages yet. Google is offering to to adjust my news searches according to my personal preferences. (Note: this is not the "personalize this page" option available in the English-language site, which only affects page layout.)

While that sounds like a kind offer, the question is: How would Google know which news I want? Well, they offer to let loose their algorithms on my search history.

I enjoyed watching Google outsmart media companies by offering me a better service than any media company could offer by itself. But do I want them to outsmart me? Maybe I have missed just another station in the way ahead to progress, but this doesn't feel good.

All right -- there might be a fair chance that Google might know what I want better than I know myself, in my chaotic, incoherent way of searching for news. But if that's the case, do I want to know they know me so well?

Google makes it easy to opt out of this service. However, my inquisitive nature might just make me to ignore that option. Yet another weekend ahead to contemplate about rather fundamental issues.

Google video goes international

BBC News:

Google has signed up a series of partners who will provide clips for its fledgling video service.

The deals mean that visitors will be able to watch Wimbledon matches, documentaries and sitcoms via the Google video site.

The partners have been signed up as Google launches eight new versions of the clip-sharing site.

France, Germany, Italy, Poland, the Netherlands, Spain, the UK and Canada now have national versions.

Clip shop

Although Google video launched in April 2005 the service has been eclipsed by the success of rivals such as YouTube which let people post and share clips.

Before now, all of Google's video offerings, which include clips made by amateurs as well as content from broadcasters and movie makers, have run off the US site.

Google hopes that the eight national editions will grow to reflect the likes of the countries each site serves - visitors can rate videos to help sort which ones are the most popular.

Included in the list of partners are ITN, Wimbledon video rights holder IMG Media, the Cousteau Society, Talkback Thames, Buena Vista International, FC Barcelona and France's National Audiovisual Archive.

The deals with the series of partners are intended to tempt people to visit the Google site and get them watching.

Those posting video to the site, whether they are movie makers or amateurs, can decide whether to charge for the clips. To help pay for the site Google runs adverts alongside videos that are posted.

Google's Landing Page Quality Change

PromotionWorld.com:

Advertisers in a number of online forums have reported an increase in the costs of the AdWords they buy. One user said that his cost-per-click price rose 400 percent, while another reported an overnight increase of 2,000 percent, according to eWeek's Google Watch.

In a blog post last Friday Google announced changes in its search algorythm. According to the company, this will affect only a small number of advertisers - those "who are not providing useful landing pages to our users will have lower Quality Scores that in turn result in higher minimum bid requirements for their keywords."

"We realize that some minimum bids may be too high to be cost-effective," the post read. "Indeed, these high minimum bids are our way of motivating advertisers to either improve their landing pages or to simply stop using AdWords for those pages."

According to a report released by Perfomics in June, the average Cost per Keyword slid about 50 percent from a fourth quarter high of $59 to near $30 throughout the first quarter. Year-over-year, Cost per Keyword remains relatively unchanged.

A few advertisers in forums have reported that their AdWords expense has decreased since Google's change to the AdWords algorithms.

According to some advertisers, however, Google should not be allowed to enforce landing page quality. Web site owners, they say, are the best judge of whether their landing pages are useful for would-be consumers.

"They need to understand that there are literally dozens of different types of sites," read one post. "By that I mean, dozens of sites have many different purposes and to clump them all into one and do a huge [algorithm] sweep is asinine."

Google helps blogger relieve Adwords headache

By Justin Mann, TechSpot.com:

While not strictly tech news, this last tidbit I saw was just too funny to pass up. Google, despite their massive size and nickname of “big brother” to some, has a lot of credit to their name and has built up a good relationship with many people that depend on the Internet for business. This recent story was quite funny, in which a blogger griping over the changes to the Adwords program accused Google of giving him a headache. Their response? They mailed him some pills.

After a meeting at Fortune Interactive, where I was actually discussing Google reporting, I went to my desk and found an envelope from Google. I opened the envelope and a small pack of acetaminophen fell out.
It does make you wonder as to what sort of working atmosphere Google is, and what sort of PR department runs the show out there. Google's Adwords program is the basis of Google advertising.

Yahoo, Google report to Wall Street next week

Donna Bogatin:

“Google and Yahoo are still benefiting from the increased willingness of marketers to buy ads based on keyword searches,” so say analysts in advance of next week’s second quarter earnings reports due out, as reported by CNNMoney:

Even though both companies reported strong first quarter results and have continued to unveil new features to help drive more viewers to their sites, shares of Yahoo and Google are trading at lower prices now than after their first quarter numbers were released in mid-April. However, Google and Yahoo do have some momentum. Since Yahoo hit a 52-week low in mid-May, at a time when the entire tech sector was in a swoon, the stock has rebounded sharply, gaining 11 percent. Google's stock has also gained ground since mid-May, rising 10.5 percent…there's a good chance shares of both companies will keep climbing since each will probably report solid second-quarter earnings.

PiperJaffray will be focusing on:

YAHOO Brand Advertising.

Large brand advertisers have indicated substantial increases in online advertising budgets in 2006, with continued high ad spending in sectors such as automobiles, personal electronics, and financial services. Much of this increase will be in search where Yahoo remains a solid No. 2 player, these large branded advertisers will likely continue to increase their spending in banded online advertisements where Yahoo is the undisputed leader. We expect the growth to accelerate through the year from the modest upside Yahoo produced in Q1 as budget allocations become available, which gives us confidence that Yahoo could once again see upside to our $342M core advertising estimate.

GOOGLE Margins

Although we believe additional spending may pressure margins slightly considering the announced distribution deals with Dell and Adobe, we continue to believe that the incremental investments will further solidify Google’s leadership position in the marketplace and lead to continued share gains over the long term. We expect Google to highlight the recent Google Checkout product…consumer and merchant adoption, incremental effect on revenue and costs and details regarding fraud prevention/liability mitigation…progress with extending the Google platform beyond paid search…Print, Radio, WiFi…

DMM71406GY.jpg

Google has 41 DataCentres After All...

I keep seeing people refer to a random rag-bag collection of IP addresses that bring up the "Google English" search box, and then refer to those as being from "56 Google DataCentres". I assumed that Google would be more organised than that, and always felt that there must have been an expansion in the number of IPs brought into use since the time that most of the Google IP address lists were compiled back in 2004. So I went looking...

You're probably aware that a few weeks ago I uncovered another 500 IP addresses that also bring up that search box, taking the total to well over 600 IPs that are active. The list is featured in several places including Search Engines Forums which is the original place that I posted it in.

Many years ago, Google had a collection of addresses like www.sj.google.com etc that brought a search box up. There were many others (-fi, -in, -va, -ab, -dc, -cw, -ex, -zu, -sj, -lm, -mc, -kr, -gv, etc). They retired those names in 2004 forcing everyone to refer to results using the bare IP address.

Whenever you access a search result at www.google.com you get your result from a random Google IP address. Usually that IP address ends in x.x.x.104 or x.x.x.99 or x.x.x.147 and the cache comes from the same Class-C IP block.

Much confusion has ensued as Google has many hundreds of IPs that never seem to directly serve results. As well as IP addresses ending in 99, 104, and 147, they also have some ending in 44, 80, 91, 115, 184, 214, and many others for example.

Whenever you look at which Class-C block that is serving the results, you seem to get a different one every few minutes, but over the course of a few weeks you might have seen only 7 or 8 different ones. But we now know that Google actually has 41 such blocks.
So, there are several dozen Class-C blocks that don't seem to make it into the rotation either.

Well, today, I found the missing link to all of this and I think I can confirm that Google has 41 datacentres, each spanning a single Class-C block, and that the www-xx.google.com URLs weren't actually retired back in 2004 after all.

In fact, they were merely renamed to a new gfe-xx.google.com format and many retained the old two letter ID pair from the old www-xx style names too.

I have found 41 such names and they correspond to each of the recently known 41 Class-C IP blocks that Google uses to serve results.

Each gfe-xx.google.com name serves results from an IP address ending x.x.x.104.

Additionally, for some of the gfe-xx.google.com names, there are extra entries at gfe-xx2.google.com that serves results from the same Class-C block but with an IP address ending x.x.x.99 and for some there is yet another entry at gfe-xx3.google.com that serves results from an IP like x.x.x.147 but again this comes from the same Class-C block.

More can be found at this thread where all the Class-C blocks are listed, along with their newly found "gfe" names, and range of IPs that respond.

And GFE, what does it stand for? Google Fools Everyone?

If you're a "Google Toolmaker" I hope this post hasn't given you a heart attack.

Is Adobe Getting their Google On With Hosted Software?

Ryan Stewart:

Adobe_Google.jpgWe live in a crazy world. We have search engines that are really advertising companies, individual bloggers taking VC money, and Netscape is now a social news site. Taken out of context, you would think that we've entered a web twilight zone. But with the way everything has changed and grown, these things don't seem so out of place. It is against this backdrop that Adobe, the worlds 4th largest software company, seems to be slowly moving into a space occupied by so many startups - the hosted web application.

Google is the undisputed king of this, taking their core business and releasing products that are very different, but still tie back to the mothership by serving the little gold nuggets that are adsense ads. I think Adobe is doing something similar. Up until yesterday, they had been releasing concept applications that showcased their Flex 2 technology. NoteTag, which I talked about on ReadWrite/Web, was the most significant, but it required you to download and run the code on your own server. A hosted version was supposed to be forthcoming, but hasn't appeared yet.

jamjar_hands.jpgJamJar is another story entirely. Described as the "Anti-MySpace" [pdf], it has the stated goal of filling a need for "shared paper" on the Internet. It allows for users to set up "spaces" and share files, information, and photos within those spaces. In very Google-esque fashion, the application serves up AdSense and has an invite feature. It also does a good job of showing off Adobe's technologies, specifically the real-time collaboration aspect of the Flex 2 line. Mike Potter has a good run down of why JamJar is Adobe's "First Web 2.0 Application".

But how does it tie back to what Adobe does best; shrink-wrapped software? Right now, the picture is cloudy. It showcases the technology, it's making some money off of Adsense, and it gets people to download FlashPlayer 9, but those don't really tie back to Adobe's core business. Here's what I think: Much like Google, Adobe will continue to release these hosted applications. In order to drive adoption of their core products, Adobe will open up these web applications so that Flex developers can tie into them and create widgets or addons. In theory, Adobe can provide a large infrastructure, with significant user base, and people can buy Flex Builder to create content and tie ins for these hosted services.

It drives adoption of Flex Builder, it showcases the technology, and it makes Adobe a player in the web application space. They won't aim for the "web office" like Google seems to be doing, but they do have a huge head start in the collaboration world, and JamJar shows how they can take advantage of that. Make no mistake, this is a test run, but there have to be minds at Adobe thinking way beyond this test run and seeing Google as a good company to emulate.

Google advertiser on CEO Schmidt: 'comment is pretty scary'

Donna Bogatin:

Re: Challenge to Google's Eric and Shuman: Be real men, don't selectively hide the 'world's information'

At John Battelle's Searchblog Erik has commented on Eric Schmidt:

Schmidt's comment is pretty scary because it shows he does not understand the dynamics of click fraud at all, much less economic theory. (I am a Google advertiser and an old econ major but neither of these things is particularly relevant). His argument is completely wrong for several reasons, only one of which I will highlight. One of the primary forms of click fraud is competitors clicking on links in order to drive up others' costs. Under this scenario, if I am the victim, I am being subjected to the fraud and having my costs driven up while my competitor (perpetrator) is not being defrauded and is now able to bid less for his traffic as I eventually drop out. This is not a self-correcting system. In the extreme case, if the perpetrator can do this to all his competitors, he eventually must only pay the minimum bid. Not only is this bad for the perpetrators' competitors and good for the perpetrator, but Google loses lots of money, too.

It would take too long to go into it, but under the current Google system, there is not one form of click fraud that would ever be self-correcting from an economic theory standpoint. In fact, the only scenario where click fraud would "work itself out" and be efficient, as Schmidt implies, would be if all advertisers are subject to the exact same amount of click fraud and the click fraud happens in an equal proportion on all publisher sites.

Google's antisocial stance

Stefanie Olsen, CNET News.com
Source: insight.zdnet.co.uk

The social-networking craze is sweeping the Web, but for once the search giant seems to be taking a back seat.

MySpace.com, Facebook.com and others have turned heads for their skyrocketing traffic and massive appeal among young people, who flock to the sites by the millions to bond via photos, videos, blogs, email and instant messaging. Meanwhile, top portals MSN and Yahoo, threatened by the prospect of losing favoured-site ranking to MySpace, have begun to organise their applications around social networking as well.

But Google's two-year-old social network Orkut — which connects friends and friends of friends around shared interests, but does not include blogging or video features — has lagged in the popularity contest. It's still not widely available and has yet to adopt the Google brand. "It proved to be a problem for Google so now they're watching it," said Stephen Arnold, author of "The Google Legacy," referring to accusations that Orkut members promoted gang-related violence in countries such as Brazil.

But as Google takes time to tinker with another one of its many young services, competitors are fast encroaching on the company's other turf.

Blogger, for example, was the Web's top blog-publishing tool when Google bought it in February 2003. Although Google hasn't turned the service into a full-on social network, Nielsen/NetRatings considers blogging a social activity.

In the last year, MySpace, which lets members include blogs on their personal pages, surpassed Google's Blogger as the top social-networking site by Nielsen's measure in the US. In May 2006, Blogger had 20 million unique visitors, up 67 percent from May 2005. In contrast, MySpace drew 42 million unique visitors in May, up 329 percent from the same period a year ago, according to Nielsen.

Orkut fell below Nielsen's reporting cut-off at roughly 300,000 unique visitors.

According to Google, the company is "committed" to social networking through Blogger, Google Video and Orkut. "Where it makes sense, Google continues to integrate its products to provide the best user-experience possible, as with Gmail and Google Talk, for example," according to an unnamed spokesperson.

Of course, some proponents say Google is savvy not to invest heavily in services that have questionable benefit to its search and advertising business, which is worth near $6bn annually. What's more likely, they say, is that Google will invest in technologies that can improve Web search and its rate of return on advertising "clicks".

"Fundamentally, information, not people, is Google's forte," said Esther Dyson, editor of tech newsletter Release 1.0, which is owned by CNET Networks, publisher of ZDNet UK. "It will be interesting over time to see how close Google can come to understanding people through algorithms," she added.

The rival advantage
Onlookers have doubted the staying power of social networks such as MySpace, calling them fads. But efforts to get into social networking by portals Microsoft and Yahoo show that the social services can resonate with Web surfers and prove beneficial to display and search-related advertising.

Microsoft, for example, is using social networking to gain a tactical advantage over rival Google.

Moz Hussain, Microsoft group product manager at MSN Spaces, said that by incorporating social features into its blog publishing tool MSN Spaces, the company is driving consumer loyalty and ad revenue.

MSN Spaces, which was launched in December 2004, has become the most popular social network on a global basis, according to ComScore Networks. That's a fact the software giant attributes to the social-networking features, inserted last year, that alert people to changes within friends' blogs via MSN instant messenger.

"The obvious way you make money is by generating a large number of page views and (displaying) ads against those pages," Hussain said. But he added: "If people use two of our products, they become much more valuable and use all our products more."

The result has meant more display and search-related advertising, he said.

In the next month or two, Hussain said the company will infuse more networking features into MSN Spaces and its social-network brand, Windows Live Spaces. With the tool, people will be able to see lists of friends on their blogs or IM windows, and then, via an upcoming product called "Friends Explorer," use the cursor to peruse friends of friends.

Arnold, the author, said social software is ultimately a shortcut for MSN in the search race because it provides the software giant with easy markers for spidering the Web and producing relevant results.

Google introduced Orkut in January 2004 as the sideline project of one of its engineers, Orkut Buyukkokten. Like most of the company's new products, Google's Orkut enjoyed enormous buzz early on… thanks to an invitation-only policy that included many Silicon Valley movers and shakers as community members. But since then, Orkut hasn't grown significantly in the US compared with the speedy trajectory of other social networks such as MySpace.

Most of Orkut's following comes from Portuguese-speaking countries, and Google has encountered problems with the Brazilian Government for member content promoting gang violence in that country.

In May, Orkut had 210,000 visitors in the US, up 85 percent from the year earlier, according to ComScore.

Worldwide, Orkut enjoyed more popularity. It ranked fifth in May by ComScore's measure, more than doubling its visitors for the year to 33.7 million. In contrast, MSN Spaces doubled its visitors to 101 million, and MySpace grew 250 percent to 74 million, according to ComScore.

In contrast, Yahoo's 360 amassed nearly 5 million visitors in May since launching in March 2005. Microsoft's MSN Spaces drew 9.6 million visitors, up more than 200 percent in that same period. And MySpace attracted 51.4 million visitors, up 230 percent year over year.

Social networking demands attention not only for its expanding influence among Web surfers, but also because sites such as MySpace are encroaching on the amount of search traffic on the Internet — a key driver of the $14bn online advertising business.

In May, for the first time MySpace joined the ranks of top search sites counted by ComScore Media Metrix, a New York-based measurement firm. In June, it continued to hold the sixth slot, garnering about 53 million searches, behind number one Google, followed by, in order of ranking: Yahoo, MSN, AOL and Ask, according to ComScore. It reaches only a small fraction of the market versus Google's 43 percent reach, but its newly held recognition could mean that social networks are the portal of the future, investors say.

This could indicate that Google needs to cultivate its own social aspirations quickly in order to protect its multibillion-dollar advertising business.

"Google was early to the pure-play social network party, which was certainly smart at the time," said David Hornik, a venture capitalist at August Capital. "But social networking has evolved into an important underpinning of other key experiences, such as photo sharing with Flickr or blogging with Vox," a new personal blogging service.

"Google would be smart to start thinking of social networks as infrastructure for other applications on their network as Yahoo has done," Hornik added.

Robert Goldberg, an early stage venture capitalist at Ridgelift Ventures, doubts Google will pay much attention to social networking, and will instead opt to focus on advertising technologies and services such as Google Checkout, the company's recently launched payment service.

"There are a few things that Google's going to get deadly serious about," said Goldberg, "but social networking is not one of them."

Microsoft COO Lashes Out At Linux, Google

Microsoft COO Kevin Turner said he isn't going to let Google, Novell or Red Hat eat into its enterprise software dynasty and will push partners, premier products and services to pump up revenues.

Courtesy of CRN

Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner had some strong words for Google and Linux vendors looking to stomp on the software dynasty.

"We're not going to let Google win in the enterprise space. That's our house, our market space," said the 40-year-old Turner, the former Wal-Mart CIO whose tough talk elicited cheers from hundreds of Microsoft partners gathered for the closing keynote at Microsoft's partner conference Thursday in Boston.

"Then we've got Novell, Linux, Red Hat and other competitors. We're going after IBM and Google," Turner said. "We're going to win because we have a better solution, better total cost of ownership. We're going to get at the competition."

Appointed head of Microsoft's worldwide sales, marketing and services organization last August, Turner leads an organization with more than 32,000 employees that generated $40 billion in revenue during fiscal 2005.

On stage at the partner conference, the boisterous, passionate COO told partners he was steered to the information technology business by his then mentor, Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, during the 1980s. Turner started his career at Wal-Mart Stores as a cashier and by the end of his 20-year tenure at the retailer was running its $37 billion subsidiary Sam's Club as CEO.

The software market will continue to grow and Microsoft's share of the overall pie -- and that of its service partners -- will continue to grow, he predicted.

"This is a very revenue focused company and our revenue focus is elevated," said Turner, who was recruited to Microsoft by longtime friend and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and founder Bill Gates.

To distinguish its offerings from competitors, for instance, Microsoft will emphasize the "premier" versions of its forthcoming Windows Vista and Office 2007 upgrades and push customers to adopt the new premier client-access license, Enterprise CAL, which offers access to many more server applications than the standard Core CAL.

And it will simplify licensing and strengthen its commitment to partners, Turner said.

Turner said he has been well versed on Microsoft's partnering philosophy and he is fully on board.

To that end, Microsoft has developed a comprehensive joint execution strategy with partners and will work hard to make its partners more profitable and motivated as it enters new markets and faces competiton on it own turf.

"We know you have choices," Turner told partners. "But this is a company that if we don't get it right the first time, we'll keep coming, and coming and coming and not stop until we get it right."

On Thursday, Microsoft executives projected that the SMB services market will reach $162 billion in its fiscal 2007.

Additionally, Microsoft cited Gartner estimates that the enterprise services market will grow to $340 billion by 2009, up from $295 billion in 2006. Microsoft said only 1.5 percent of that total figure will be driven by Microsoft Services directly.

Google Insiders Take the Money and Stay

The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc.:

Execs at the Web search giant have reaped eye-popping sums from selling some stock holdings. But they're not bailing outjust getting rich


Should Google's less well-heeled shareholders worry that top brass are taking some money off the table? Insider trading experts are sanguine. "There's nothing nefarious going on" with these insiders selling, says Ben Silverman, director of research for InsiderScore.com, which tracks the stock sales of top executives.

"The company went public, they've done fantastic, and now a bunch of them are getting rich."

In fact, the company's top executives have earned more from their stock sales than the company has made in profits since it went public in August, 2004. They raked in $5.5 billion by unloading stock during the past 12 months, according to the data-monitoring service InsiderScore.com. From businesses such as online advertising, the company produced $1.47 billion net income during the entire year of 2005. During the year ended 2004 they made $399 million.

SLOW HAND.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt racked up $670.3 million by shedding around 2.1 million shares during the past 18 months, according to InsiderScore.com. While Schmidt made some bucks this way, he's sacrificed only a fraction of the 12.45 million total shares that he reported holding in an Apr. 12 Securities and Exchange Commission filing. He still has 11.3% of the total voting power as of Mar. 17, 2006. [Schmidt, Page, and Brin all hold Class B shares, which carry 10 votes per share rather than the single vote per share that Class A stock carries.]

The co-founders have also held on to the bulk of their shares. Page reported in April that he owned 32.08 million Google shares and held 28.8% of the voting power. He has cashed in about 6.8 million shares during the past 18 months, for a total of $2.1 billion. Google's other paterfamilias, Brin, who held 31.96 million shares and 28.7% of the voting power in April, has sold about 6.4 million shares during the past 18 months, for $2 billion.

The Google trio may be near the end of their stock sales. In an SEC filing on Nov. 19, 2004, the executives explained their plans for selling stock, saying they wanted to spread their stock trades over an extended period of time and give investors advance notice of the sales so they wouldn't raise concerns. They also gave targets for how much stock they expected to sell under the plans.

Schmidt had said he would sell approximately 2.2 million shares, so he is now 95% of the way to that benchmark. Page and Brin said they would sell 7.2 million shares each, putting them at 94% and 89%, respectively, of their stated targets. A Google spokesman could not provide information immediately on whether the three executives plan to stop their sales or institute new trading programs after they reach the benchmarks of the 2004 SEC filing.

STILL A BUY.

As promised in that SEC document, Google's top executives have parceled out their shares steadily, instead of dumping them wholesale and hurting the stock's value. Insider sellers have unloaded Google stock almost every month since the company went public two years ago with shares offered at $85 apiece. The amounts they sold increased from a low of $135.76 million in November, 2004, to a high of $686.07 million in May, according to research firm Thomson Financial in Stamford, Conn. Since the IPO, shares have risen fivefold, to $424.56. "I can't fault these people for selling," says Mark A. LoPresti, a senior quantitative analyst at Thomson Financial.

How Page and Brin are spending their money is attracting plenty of attention. Even the normally restrained Wall Street Journal gushed last fall about Page and Brin's purchase of a Boeing 767, describing it as larger than the two Boeing 757s that serve as flagships for Microsoft (MSFT) co-founder Paul Allen's fleet of aircraft. Page and Brin are also involved in philanthropic giving. They've set up a philanthropic arm at their company, called Google.org, which funds everything from entrepreneurship programs in Ghana to literacy projects in India.

Despite the sales by insiders, Wall Street analysts think investors should keep buying. Out of 38 analysts tracked by the San Francisco investment research firm StarMine, 31 have Google's stock rated either "Buy" or "Strong Buy." Nobody says "Strong Sell."

LUSH LIFESTYLE.

"Insider selling is never a positive, but it could be neutral," says Piper Jaffray's analyst Safa Rashtchy. "Overall [Google's insider selling] doesn't sound alarming." Rashtchy says the company's stock price will rocket to $600 during the next 12 months. He admires Google's aggressiveness in going after new markets with products such as Google Checkout, an online payment system that debuted on June 29.

Rashtchy says investors will pay 50 times Google's earnings as long as the company continues creating cash and growing every year. He's expecting Google to produce a "substantial" $3.5 billion after-tax profit in 2007.

Laura Martin, senior media analyst at Soleil-Fulcrum Research in New York, says Google's current share price embeds the assumption of 21% earnings before interest taxes, depreciation, and amortization growth every year for the next decade. "No advertising-driven business since 1947 has achieved anything faster than 17% per year," she says.

She's one of the few analysts to rate Google at "hold," but even she isn't worried about the company's insider trading. "It is typical of Internet senior managers to sell shares under pre-established plans," she says. She thinks it's an appropriate way for Google executives to fund their lifestyles.

Given the company's astonishingly large market cap, selling the tiniest portion of Google shares will result in eye-popping numbers. Even after recently tapping that piggy bank, insiders continue to have significant stakes in the company and much riding on its continued success. After all, Page and Brin might each want their own jetliner one day.

First Official SEO World Cup Competition Opens in August

PromotionWorld.com:

SEO World Cup is a global competition to find the best individual or company able to attain a predetermined keyword phrase across multiple search engines by a predetermined date. The competition is open to all who register with SEO World Cup to be officially recognized for the achievement.

The official start date for the competition is August 1, 2006 at 12:00pm CST/North America. That's when the officials from SEO World Cup will reveal the much anticipated keyword phrase.

“There have been several attempts to conduct an SEO competition of this magnitude in the past, but without any notable success. We are looking for vast participation in this event to create some excitement around the whole SEO industry,” says the founder of SEO World Cup.

According to SEO World Cup Officials, SEO World Cup is in formal talks with sponsors to secure more prizes for the competition winners. Sponsors are lining up to be part of the global search for SEO Expert 2006. New sponsors and their contributions continue to pour in, which is helping to make the event world class says.

"The biggest challenge of running a competition of this size is getting the word out to everyone. That’s where we are relying on volunteers to help promote the event by linking to www.seoworldcup.com,” officials said. The organizers say they will be using a barrage of advertising but expect the biggest impact will come through word of mouth.

Google AdWords - changes bite advertisers

Some advertisers have complained that recent changes to the Adwords advertising system are sending PPC budgets sky-high.

The changes implemented by Google include an unknown “quality rating” factor, which directly affects bid prices.

Where Google feels the page the ad leads to is of relatively poor “quality”, the bid price rises for keywords used to advertise that page.

A specific reason for the policy is almost certainly to help remove bottom-end affiliate bidders, as well as those using “arbitrage” - bidding on low-cost Adwords keywords, to send traffic to pages publishing AdSense for higher-paying keywords.

The impact has been variable, with some affiliates reporting a huge increase in prices, while users of arbitrage have reported little overal impact.

However, the most important change is how it will affect general ecommerce site budgets, and at present it’s difficult to get a balanced report on what effect it is having.

Some ecommerce sites are reporting suddenly inflated budgets, others are reporting no change.

While any change to the quality of the Adwords service is likely to be welcomed overall by advertisers, the concern at present is that the lack of transparency in the Adwords “quality” rating system may be hurting some advertisersunnecessarily.

In related Adwords news, Google is experimenting with radio format ads for advertisers.

Firefox: the search engine's favourite

By bigmouthmedia

The recently released Mozilla Firefox 2.0 Beta 1 incorporates Yahoo! Live Search so you can find what you want faster. It does this by suggesting search results instantaneously, in a drop down list, as you type. This technology speeds up search and, as a bonus, brings up related search terms which you might not have considered. Live Search also shows spelling suggestions and enables you to use keyboard shortcuts to help you get to the results that you want. Firefox searching just got smarter!

Of course, this functionality is something the Google Toolbar has had for a while. And here Yahoo! is with it now for Firefox. Actually, both Search Engines have had online versions of this tool for a while, so the real news here is that Yahoo! is backing Firefox with this tool. We already know Google backs Firefox so it seems it's in the privileged position of being the search engine's favourite, or is it all just a case of backing both horses?

Interestingly, "tmcw" comments on the Yahoo! search Blog: "I really wonder about the flow of money between the Mozilla Foundation, Google, and Yahoo!. Since Google originally struck a deal with the foundation to make itself the primary provider (and to add "I'm feeling lucky" searching in the address bar), I would assume Yahoo 'donated' a good bit of money for this. It's a war over dependency, in my opinion."

The Mozilla Foundation is wary of entering into too many sponsorship deals however, as they've learnt from Netscape's experiences. Gervase Markham, a Mozilla staff member, said: "Netscape ran into trouble with its browser as it sold every bookmark and link, and couldn't change the browser in a way that was better for users without breaking its deals".

There's no doubt, however, that the Mozilla Foundation's deal with Google is playing a crucial role in helping the non-profit organisation challenge Microsoft as, "without that deal the Foundation would not have been in a position to have hired some of the people that it has".

Although Google is Mozilla's premier distribution and search partner in the US, Yahoo! has made a strong play by partnering with Mozilla in the Asian market. While Google is, hands down, the most popular search engine in the US and the world in general, Yahoo enjoys a strong brand in the Pacific Rim, being the most popular web destination in Japan and equally well known throughout China, Korea and Taiwan.

Mozilla's partner strategy seems to be working as Wednesday saw the announcement that Firefox is gaining ground on Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser, with its overall global market share reaching 12.93 percent. Regional figures are even more encouraging with Firefox owning 15.82 percent of the U.S. browser market, 20.41 percent in Italy, 24.23 percent in Australia and a huge 39.02 percent in Germany.

US judge dismisses suit over Google ranking

By Elinor Mills, Special to Builder AU

A California judge on Thursday dismissed a Web site's lawsuit against Google over its fall in the Google search index, but left the door open for the lawsuit to be amended and refiled.

KinderStart, a directory and search engine for information related to children, sued Google in March after it fell to a "zero" ranking in the Google index. The lawsuit claimed that by lowering KinderStart's site in its PageRank system, Google had engaged in "pervasive monopolistic practices" that led to the denial of the site's free speech rights, prevention and destruction of competition, and predatory pricing, among nine counts total.

As a result of the delisting, traffic and monthly page views to KinderStart's Web site fell 70 percent or more and the company's revenue from advertisements through Google's AdSense syndication program fell by more than 80 percent, according to the lawsuit.

US District Judge Jeremy Fogel for the Northern District in San Jose dismissed all nine claims, saying that KinderStart's claims were insufficient or failed to allege facts or conduct to support that the claims or were too vague.

Fogel specifically dismissed some of the claims against Google "with leave to amend," meaning that KinderStart can modify and refile the complaint.

Google's senior litigation counsel, Michael Kwun, said in a statement: "We are pleased that Judge Fogel dismissed all of KinderStart's claims."

Meanwhile, KinderStart attorney Gregory Yu also claimed victory, noting that the judge left the door open by allowing KinderStart to refile the claims. He said he plans to file an amended complaint before the next court date, which is scheduled for September 29.

Yu also said he was encouraged by the judge's discussion pertaining to the defamation claim, and he urged other Web site publishers to contact him at Glawinfo.com to join the lawsuit, which seeks class action status.

"The decision suggests that, if properly alleged, Google may be defaming a whole class of Web sites sacked with a '0' PageRank," he wrote in a statement. "If plaintiffs show Google manually tampered with even a single Web site's PageRank, Google's entire claim of 'objectivity' of search results and rankings could collapse."

Eric Goldman, an assistant professor of law at Marquette University Law School, said the ruling was favourable for Google, except for the discussion on defamation.

"Frankly, there are very few novel or surprising aspects of this ruling. For example, the judge rejected the claim that Google was a state actor, but this ruling is entirely consistent with the dozen or so precedents involving private Internet companies," Goldman wrote on his blog. "The other rulings seemed very sensible and fairly predictable from the complaint. It's pretty clear that the judge thinks that some of KinderStart's claims have no chance even with repleading, but the judge apparently has decided to give KinderStart that chance rather than just shutting the door."

Fogel wrote that a PageRank score reflects Google's opinions, and suggested that a score generated by a computer algorithm is likely not defamatory. But if KinderStart can prove a case of "manual intervention" by Google, Fogel wrote, the outcome might be different.

Google ranking case dismissed

By Elinor Mills, CNET News.com

Claims that the search giant deliberately downgraded a rival's pages have been rejected, but could yet return to court.

A California judge on Thursday dismissed a Web site's lawsuit against Google over its fall in the Google search index, but left the door open for the lawsuit to be amended and refiled.

KinderStart, a directory and search engine for information related to children, sued Google in March after it fell to a "zero" ranking in the Google index. The lawsuit claimed that by lowering KinderStart's site in its PageRank system, Google had engaged in "pervasive monopolistic practices" that led to the denial of the site's free-speech rights, prevention and destruction of competition, and predatory pricing — among nine counts in total.

As a result of the drop in ranking, traffic and monthly page views to KinderStart's Web site fell 70 percent or more and the company's revenue from advertisements through Google's AdSense syndication program fell by more than 80 percent, according to the lawsuit.

US District Judge Jeremy Fogel for the Northern District in San Jose dismissed all nine claims, saying that KinderStart's claims were insufficient or failed to allege facts or conduct to support that the claims or were too vague.

Fogel specifically dismissed some of the claims against Google "with leave to amend," meaning that KinderStart can modify and refile the complaint.

Google's senior litigation counsel, Michael Kwun, said in a statement: "We are pleased that Judge Fogel dismissed all of KinderStart's claims."

Meanwhile, KinderStart attorney Gregory Yu also claimed victory, noting that the judge left the door open by allowing KinderStart to refile the claims. He said he plans to file an amended complaint before the next court date, which is scheduled for 29 September.

Yu also said he was encouraged by the judge's discussion pertaining to the defamation claim, and he urged other Web site publishers to contact him at Glawinfo.com to join the lawsuit, which seeks class action status.

"The decision suggests that, if properly alleged, Google may be defaming a whole class of Web sites sacked with a '0' PageRank," he wrote in a statement. "If plaintiffs show Google manually tampered with even a single Web site's PageRank, Google's entire claim of 'objectivity' of search results and rankings could collapse."

Eric Goldman, an assistant professor of law at Marquette University Law School, said the ruling was favourable for Google, except for the discussion on defamation. "Frankly, there are very few novel or surprising aspects of this ruling. For example, the judge rejected the claim that Google was a state actor, but this ruling is entirely consistent with the dozen or so precedents involving private Internet companies," Goldman wrote on his blog. "The other rulings seemed very sensible and fairly predictable from the complaint. It's pretty clear that the judge thinks that some of KinderStart's claims have no chance even with repleading, but the judge apparently has decided to give KinderStart that chance rather than just shutting the door."

Fogel wrote that a PageRank score reflects Google's opinions, and suggested that a score generated by a computer algorithm is likely not defamatory. But if KinderStart can prove a case of "manual intervention" by Google, Fogel wrote, the outcome might be different.

14 июл. 2006 г.

Google joins OpenDocument group

By Elinor Mills, news.com.com

Google has joined a group that is promoting an OpenDocument Format standard that allows people to open documents regardless of the application they were created in.

The group, the OpenDocument Format Alliance, was formed to solve the problem of users getting locked out of files when they are using an application other than the one the document was created with.

Google, whose Writely online word processing program supports ODF, joined the roster of 240 ODF Alliance members this week, Marino Marcich, managing director of the ODF, said Tuesday.

Google also unveiled its Google Spreadsheets application last month, but has not said whether that program will support ODF. Company spokespeople did not return calls and e-mails seeking comment.

"Google is a major player obviously and a tremendous boost to the alliance," which launched with just 36 members in March, he said. "It demonstrates the depth and growing support behind the ODF.

Although Microsoft Office document formats are the most widely used, the XML-based OpenDocument Format has emerged as an alternative with backing from IBM, Sun Microsystems and others, as well as high-profile government customers in Massachusetts and Belgium.

"When a company like Google puts its name behind any effort to promote OpenDocument Format it's a sign that it is not just a technology on the move, but one that is arriving very rapidly," said Will Rodger, director of public policy at the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA).

Stephen O'Grady, an analyst at RedMonk, said Google's support could bring a large user base.

"If Google includes ODF support in Google Spreadsheets and finds a role for ODF in Gmail then you're talking about a significant number of users who will be using and creating documents in that format," he said.

Microsoft recently launched the Open XML Translator project so developers can create software that will convert Microsoft Office documents to OpenDocument, so they can be opened and saved in the OpenDocument Format.

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Этот текст в переводе на русский язык http://zdnet.ru/

Google вступила в организацию OpenDocument

Google вступила в организацию, продвигающую стандарт OpenDocument, который позволяет открывать документы независимо от того, в каком приложении они созданы.


Организация ODF Alliance создана для решения проблемы недоступности файлов для пользователей приложений, отличающихся от тех, в которых эти документы были созданы.

На этой неделе Google, чей онлайновый текстовой процессор поддерживает ODF, вступила в ряды ODF Alliance, насчитывающие 240 членов. В прошлом месяце Google представила также электронную таблицу Google Spreadsheets, правда, не сказала, будет ли она поддерживать ODF.

«Google — важный игрок, и его вступление придаст альянсу гигантское ускорение. Это подчеркивает глубину и растущую поддержку ODF», — сказал управляющий директор ODF Марино Марчич. На момент создания альянса в марте этого года в нем было всего 36 членов.

Хотя форматы документов Microsoft Office являются самыми распространенными, формат OpenDocument на базе XML становится альтернативой, которую поддерживают IBM, Sun Microsystems и другие компании, а также влиятельные государственные заказчики в штате Массачусетс и в Бельгии.

«Раз такие компании как Google подкрепляют своим именем усилия по продвижению формата OpenDocument, это означает, что данная технология не просто развивается, а развивается очень быстро», — сказал директор по общественной политике Ассоциации производителей вычислительной техники и средств связи (CCIA) Уилл Роджер.

Аналитик RedMonk Стивен О’Грейди считает, что поддержка Google может создать формату обширную клиентскую базу. «Если Google включит поддержку ODF в Google Spreadsheets и найдет применение ODF в Gmail, то речь пойдет о значительном количестве пользователей, создающих и применяющих документы в этом формате».

Недавно Microsoft запустила проект Open XML Translator, позволяющий разработчикам создавать ПО, преобразующее документы Microsoft Office в формат OpenDocument, так чтобы их можно было открывать и сохранять в этом формате.

13 июл. 2006 г.

Google работает над онлайновым хранилищем данных Platypus

Слухи об онлайновом хранилище данных, якобы разрабатывающемся компанией Google, обрастают новыми подробностями.
Информация о том, что Google собирается открыть сервис, предназначенный для хранения пользовательских файлов, появилась в марте нынешнего года. Тогда в презентации, опубликованной на сайте Google, сообщалось, что компания намерена "собрать всю информацию, а не какую-то её часть". Кроме того, Google отмечала, что в перспективе сможет хранить все пользовательские файлы, а доступ к ним можно будет получать с самых разнообразных устройств, построенных на базе различных программных платформ.

Как теперь сообщает BetaNews ("More Information Leaks About GDrive"), на днях в интернете на короткое время появилась веб-страница, содержащая сведения о неком проекте Google с кодовым названием Platypus (GDrive). Судя по скриншоту страницы, проект Platypus предполагает создание интернет-сервиса для хранения пользовательских данных. Поместив файлы в такое хранилище, пользователи впоследствии смогут получить к ним доступ с любого компьютера с установленным клиентом Platypus. Среди возможностей сервиса упоминается совместимость с различными операционными системами, функции синхронизации и предоставления доступа к данным сторонним пользователям.

Страница с информацией о проекте Platypus появилась на сайте Writely.com и вскоре была удалена. Некоторые обозреватели высказывают предположения, что новой службой, возможно, смогут воспользоваться исключительно сотрудники Google, и данный сервис никогда не станет общедоступным. Впрочем, сама Google от каких-либо комментариев пока воздерживается.

12 июл. 2006 г.

Google набирает 1000 сотрудников для контекстной рекламы

Lenta.ru пишет:

Компания Google планирует открыть 1000 вакансий в Анн Аборе, штат Мичиган, в течение последующих пяти лет. В настоящий момент в Google работает более 5 тысяч человек. Новые сотрудники займутся сопровождением системы контекстной рекламы Google AdWords, являющейся основным источником дохода компании.

Уровень безработицы в штате Мичиган, по майским данным, составляет 6 процентов, в то время как в целом по США этот показатель не превышает 4,6 процента. Власти штата предложили Google налоговые каникулы в размере 38 миллионов долларов на ближайшие 20 лет, чтобы снизить уровень безработицы в Мичигане. Численность населения Анн Абор, расположенного к западу от Детройта, составляет 113 тысяч человек. В городе находится Мичиганский университет и множество высокотехнологичных компаний. Кроме того, со-основатель Google Ларри Пейдж (Larry Page) является выпускником Мичиганского университета.

Google является лидером на рынке поиска в интернете, занимая 43 процента рынка в США. По майским данным Nielsen/NetRatings, аудитория Google составляет 380 миллионов человек ежемесячно. В тройку лидеров также входят Yahoo и Microsoft's MSN, владеющие соответственно 28 и 13 процентами рынка.

На сегодняшний день Google занимает 353 строчку FORTUNE 500 и третью строчку среди интернет-компаний. За прошлый год прибыль Google выросла на 267,2 процента и составила 1,465 миллиарда долларов, годовой доход компании составил 6,138 миллиарда долларов, а рыночная стоимость Google превысила 100 миллиардов долларов.

Google And The Need For Speed

David A. Utter, Staff Writer, webpronews:

If the scientists who claim news content has a half-life of 36 hours online before it falls off the radar of Internet users are correct, Google's successor online might match up freshness and relevance.

I remember overhearing a conversation between a bank teller and a manager one time, where the teller asked if the manager wanted something done fast or wanted it done well. The manager, of course, said "both."

After posting a story about articles being unseen by a prospective audience about 36 hours after they have been placed online, I received an IM from our publisher, Rich Ord.

There's nothing like seeing an instant message popup from one's publisher at 7:15 in the morning. It does the work of a Jolt Cola and six Pixy-Stix when it comes to waking me up.

Rich commented on the story, noting how the shorter life span of articles could be a disadvantage when it came to indexing them. Even with the use of Google Sitemaps, Google News still updates a lot more rapidly that the main Google index.

That Bigdaddy of an index is a lot larger than Google News, since it has a lot more sources to spider and more being added all of the time. Google does a good job of keeping pace, but what happens if the next search engine to come along can reasonably mimic Google's algorithms and grab content faster?

Blog search engines like Technorati, Sphere, and even Google's own Blogsearch all pick up new content at a brisk pace. It could even be argued that the rapidly growing blogosphere presents more of a challenge than conventional websites do when it comes to indexing.

To mate speed with performance would require a lot of servers and a lot of bandwidth. With its new headquarters under construction, the purchase of a switching facility in New York City, and its ongoing acquisition of dark fiber throughout the United States, one company could pull this off.

That would be Google.