Archive for the ‘Google’ Category
Let me tell you a story…
Lid does a number of things around the Web, and sometimes I even find it hard to keep up. So I have a Google alert on her, so I can see what she is doing and what people are saying about her. That’s my excuse anyways.
Last Friday I got an alert from Google with 3 references:
The references are:
- Lid’s ReadWriteWeb post about Social Media and who is doing it well from the Social Media Marketing Summit in San Francisco.
- A post by Laurena about delicious and tagging which discusses and references Lid’s article -just what the Web is intended for.
- A post by ‘Oggi’ which looks remarkable like Lid’s – it starts with the same 20 words – and even references her by name.
So who or what is Oggi’s blog? Here is a screen shot.
Here is a breakdown of Oggi’s blog:
- 3 separate groups of Google advertising – two text based, and the third image based.
- The title of the post which is the same as Lid’s.
- The content of the post is the same initial 20 words of Lid’s post, then followed by “Original post by Lidija Davis” with Lid’s name linked to her post on ReadWriteWeb.
Now the link on Lid’s post is interesting in that it is not a direct link to the post on ReadWriteWeb, but rather an indirect link via Google’s FeedBurner service. Here is the link:
So what about the other posts on this blog? Surprise, surprise, they all reference other people’s posts in exactly the same way. The same title is used, same first 20 words, and a link to the original post via FeedBurner.
Just to prove to myself that Google is still in fact indexing Oggi’s blog, I did a site search for Lidija, and found two previous ReadWriteWeb posts.
So what is the point of Oggi’s blog?
To hi-hack anyone who is searching for the title of noteworthy posts, so that if they click on the links, they will invoke 3 separate Google blocks of ads, with the user clicking through to the original article.
Now, who wins out of this?
- Oggi – for the princely sum of a few fractions of a cent.
- Google – for recording and charging the lucky advertisers for appearing on Oggi’s blog – this too would be minimal; however, it is still money on the bottom line.
The individual amount of money changing hands is minimal; however, multiply this by the number of hapless visitors and it could get into the hundreds for Oggi, and multiply this by the number of Oggi clones out there and now you are getting into the thousands for Google. I must state that I have absolutely no clue as to the actual numbers, but I think I have underestimated both sets of numbers here.
So who loses?
- The users of the Web for being distracted by useless profiteering …
- The advertiser.
- The Web in general for being littered with content which has absolutely zero value.
So to recap:
- I was sent an e-mail by Google alerting me to the existence of Oggi’s blog, of which I was blissfully ignorant until then.
- I visit Oggi’s blog and find that I am reading a post of zero value to me, has zero content, well actually 29 words copied from elsewhere, and which is surrounded by 3 block’s of Google advertisements.
- The link to the original post is via Google’s FeedBurner service.
The only thing which is not Google’s is the blogging software, which is WordPress in this case. Otherwise, we would have had a clean sweep. Digressing a bit, we had a bit of fun last April fool’s with this post on Google acquiring WordPress (remember this is not serious).
Now what Oggi is doing is cookie cutter stuff, so I can’t see how Google cannot detect that the intent is none other than injecting a post in between the user and what they actually want to view and benefiting courtesy of Google ads.
But then the conspiracy person within me has a theory, and we all have one, just the degree varies (checkout ReadWriteWeb’s very own post on Chrome)…
Why aren’t Google proactively purging such sites from their index, and thus alerts?
If they did then they loose money since ads are not being triggered.
I certainly hope this is not the case. I would expect that purging 100% of such sites from the index is actually impossible, but I think that low hanging fruit such as Oggi are simple enough for a group of 2-3 Googlers to solve – a few, ok, many, 20% days perhaps.
It maybe a long bow, but the theoretical dilemma is interesting, and no doubt finer minds than mine have discussed this to death.
I googled Google to see if you can report such blogs so this site is removed from the index, but the only thing I could find on the first page of the results, I am not a patient searcher, was a reference to reporting copyright infringements which requires me to mail in a letter (I kid you not).
I was expecting to find a ‘report abuse’ link one click away from the Google’s home page, in “About Google” specifically.
With search being an integral part of everyone’s online life now, and that given that ‘googled’ is now a verb, it plays a critical component of the Web, in that it potentially can control the pages which are viewed by users, thereby controlling the ads which are displayed, thereby controlling the potential revenue received by Google.
Google currently receives a lot of freedom in what they do, which they have rightly earned, but how can we be sure that this is not abused in the future?
How can we, the citizens of the Web, be assured that there is no conflict of interest between the search/index side of the business and the advertising side within Google?
Is there a common theme here? Checkout Michael Gray’s view on Google’s book search.
She walked us through recent developments at Google, and pointed to what she considers the cooler stuff Google is working on – or - the future of search; specifically automated translation and voice recognition. All things that open up the power of the Web to more users are cool to Google.
Here are my favorites:
CLIR is a new Google product that will translate search queries from one language to another, run a search using the second language, then spit out the results in the original language.
The example Mayer gives is searching for “Restaurants in New York” in Arabic. As it turns out, there is no information on the Web about restaurants in New York written in the Arabic language – lots in English though…
And this is where Google’s CLIR comes in.
CLIR translates the query into English, searches the index and finds the most relevant pages, then offers results in Arabic and English, side by side.
Voila! Information that was once inaccessible to certain people suddenly becomes much more accessible.
Read the “Search without boundaries” post on the official Google blog. (May 23, 2007)
Google Book Search
Working with 16 major libraries and publishers, Google is still determined to bring all books online and make them searchable. A recent addition to Google Books is metadata (information about information).
Although this doesn’t mean you will be able to read every book online (think copyright), what it does mean, is you will be able to search for a book, then, using Goog’s other services, find a copy based on location (be it from a bookshop or library).
Google have also added an “About this Book” section, meaning you can look at reviews, references from Web pages, and references from other books.
Another cool feature is you can look up places mentioned in this book, with pop outs available pointing to the page where the location was mentioned.
Official Google Blog entry “Books Mapped” (January 25, 2007)
(Also known as Google Voice Local Search)
411 (in case you are not familiar with the US way of things), is a call to the operator of your telco service – the place to get information.
When you ring 1-800-GOOG-411, Google takes your voice and converts it to text, does a search, and spits back results via SMS. It even offers to connect you free of charge (you only pay your provider costs).
However, the stuff happening in the background is way cooler. By assembling an array of voices, that lead to better voice detects than are currently available, Google is laying the foundation for its voice recognition software to be used across a range of Google product, for instance, using it over video to pull out transcripts. Of course, the more people that use the service, the better Goog will understand the sound discrepencies.
This service is still in beta, and is only available in English, in the United States
If you want to learn more, check out the GOOG411 discussion group
At the moment, when you search for video on the Web, you are presented with a thumbnail image of the video that is related to your search. Soon, and Mayer expects this is likely in the next year or two, you should be able to do a video search and get not only a thumbnail, but also a transcript.
In addition to voice search, Googlers are working on visual search, which will allow the searcher to look at a filmstrip (various images from the video – see pic above), that will hopefully allow the user to see at a glance whether the video is what they are searching for, although Mayer expects this will happen after voice.
Video, books, images, and news are now included in Google’s search results. It’s called Universal Search and debuted a couple of months ago. See Danny Sullivan’s Google 2.0 article at Search Engine Land for more detailed information.
According to Mayer, the idea is to present to users an almost encyclopedic experience.
Right now, only certain Google services are used, but Mayer expects more of their data, such as blogs, to appear soon.
You can now use Google Maps to look at traffic results in real time. Mayer shows us that heading down a certain highway at the end of Searchnomics is a mistake – huge delays.
She also talks about the Street View, explaining how useful it is for those people heading to a new restaurant/bar/café, giving the example of the Olympic Club in San Francisco. Instead of driving around in the rain, she checks street view and knows exactly what she needs to look for when she gets there.
Google Grant Ventures
Today Mayer announced Google Gadget Ventures which provides two types of funding:
The first tier grants are for $5,000 to people who have built gadgets that Google would like to see developed further. You need to have 250,000 page views per week to be eligible to apply.
The second tier is a seed investment of $100,000 to developers who would like to build a business around Google gadgets. You need to have been granted tier one to be eligible for tier two.
Mayer explained that Google Gadgets allows lay people to create their own product, and gives the example of young Caleb Eggensperger, a google gadeget maker who has 6.5 million page views per week…I guess this means he is definitely eligible to apply for tier one grants.
If you race around the Web, searching for information, getting sidetracked, and ultimately returning to the same tried and true sources, there are two easy-to-use tools that are brilliant at sorting stuff; getting it out of your head and moving it to the Web.
Rather than clog your favorite’s folder with URL’s that you may only use a handful of times, personalized homepages allow you to categorize smarter. You have six tabs (which you name), and each allows you to add as much content as you wish.
If you don’t have a Google account, you need one. If you have one, all you need to do is sign in and start adding stuff.
You can add content by looking through what’s on offer from ten categories, or add it by URL (next to the Google search box). If the content you want to add is not off a feed, there is a Google bookmark module that you can add to your page, so just use that to add your favorite sites.
Google have been offering homepages for some time, but last month they overhauled it. You can now personalize the page to suit your mood, and although you can only choose from six themes, it’s very cute because the pages are dynamic (meaning they change with your local time, season and weather conditions). Read Jessica Ewing’s post about adding personality to your Google homepage.
Another feature for those among us that are a tad lazy is the option to let Google decide what sites may be of interest to you, based on the names you give tabs, or content you include.
A brilliant tool, especially during the research phase when you don’t want to be writing down each URL you find, or adding them all to your favorites, is Google notebook, which allows you to copy bits off the Web easily.
It also gets rid of the need to cut and paste between programs, time consuming and painful because you usually need to reformat text for ease of reading. Google notebook lets you easily grab all the pertinent URL’s or text, so that later, when you do need to start writing; it’s all there in the one place, in a common format.
If you can understand this, there is a good chance you will want to read the American Mathematical Society’s feature article “How Google finds your Needle in the Web’s Haystack” The article describes Google’s PageRank algorithm and how it returns pages from the Web’s collection of 25 billion documents. According to David Austin from Grand Valley State University, the trick is to ask the Web itself to rank the importance of pages. I wish you luck!