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Browsing "Google"

The future of Google is.. cloudy?

Sep 28, 2009   //   by FreshTraffic   //   Google, internet news  //  248 Comments

With it’s seat firmly set on being the king of search, Google is constantly growing, and evolving. It’s a living, breating, life sustaining organ of the web, and as such, any moment of service problems is almost immediately noticeable.

Gmail, Google news, Blogger, Youtube etc. the list of companies under Googles umbrella, and in their repetoire is quite large, and seeing as acquisitions are once again on the table, soon to be growing. With such a huge toolkit of technologies available to them, it should be understandable that the odd disruption of service were to happen; even though it is rare.

And now, with Google encouraging users to change their productivity apps from the desktop, to the “cloud”, loss of service is beginning to become an issue. Not because it happens every day, or even if it happens once a month. The simple idea behind cloud computing being having “your computer” available to you anywhere is an incredible incentive. But, if when you go to use the cloud, you can’t access it because of a glitch, programming error, someone trips on a plug etc, it is a problem.

It’s like showing up to your current workplace, and your computer just not booting up. And the tech manager, is in the next city over, trying to communicate to you what’s wrong over the phone, but because he’s using sign language you can’t tell what’s going on, or when it’s going to be fixed. All you can do, is wait until then.

Cloud computing, may very well end up being the greatest boon to business productivity the world has seen to date. But as of right now, it’s still a brand new technology, and as such, will encounter hiccups, glitches, crashes, and downtime. Should Google be knocked, stripped, and beaten down for it? Not in my opinion, but everyone has their own.

For everything that Google does impressively, how easy is it to forget, when they’re trying to make a step into a previously, unknown sector.

Google, the Department of Justice, and you

Sep 21, 2009   //   by FreshTraffic   //   Google, internet, internet news  //  126 Comments

In it’s bid to digitize the world, Google has moved forward again in it’s application to digitize the worlds libraries. Lately however, things have taken a decidedly more serious turn with the Department of Justice weighing in with it’s concerns. The DoJ became the latest party to file its concerns about Google’s book settlement and it appears the search giant will have to either make tweaks to the deal, or allow the feds—and maybe even Congress—to poke around. You should be betting on the tweaks.

While there were some good points made by the DoJ :

The United States strongly supports a vibrant marketplace for the electronic distribution of copyrighted works, including in-print, out-of-print, and so-called “orphan” works. The Proposed Settlement has the potential to breathe life into millions of works that are now effectively off limits to the public. By allowing users to search the text of millions of books at no cost, the Proposed Settlement would open the door to new research opportunities. Users with print disabilities would also benefit from the accessibility elements of the Proposed Settlement, and, if the Proposed Settlement were approved, full text access to tens of millions of books would be provided through institutional subscriptions.

They also made it very clear, that there are valid concerns about the settlement as it exists now.

..the breadth of the Proposed Settlement – especially the forward-looking business arrangements it seeks to create – raises significant legal concerns. As a threshold matter, the central difficulty that the Proposed Settlement seeks to overcome – the inaccessibility of many works due to the lack of clarity about copyright ownership and copyright status – is a matter of public, not merely private, concern. A global disposition of the rights to millions of copyrighted works is typically the kind of policy change implemented through legislation, not through a private judicial settlement.

In the end, Google is most likely going to make a few tweaks to it’s compensation agreement and try to placate everyone as best as possible.

Bing 2.0, denies porn obsession

Sep 14, 2009   //   by FreshTraffic   //   bing, Google  //  1 Comment

Microsoft Bing has done rather well since it launched. But there is much more to come, with the site set to evolve and expand in the coming months. In fact, Bing 2.0 could be just around the corner. Meanwhile, Microsoft has had to deny it has an obsession with porn after an advert for Bing was discovered on Google alongside search results for “pornography.”

Bing is truly managing to do something I never thought I’d see – it’s weaning people off an over-reliance on Google. I admit, I’d got to the point where I used Google automatically, never even giving another search (or decision) engine a thought. But then Microsoft launched Bing in May and I saw there was a viable alternative out there. I now use both on a regular basis and am happy the search giant has some big-name competition at last.

It isn’t perfect however, with some features needing to be tweaked and some obvious areas ripe for improvement. Andbeen that’s exactly what Microsoft is planning to do sooner rather than later.

Monte Enbysk, senior editor at Microsoft Office Live, wrote, “Bing 2.0, out this month, has some exciting new features. Imagine seeing maps plus pics from the neighborhood of a restaurant to try.”

As usual, Microsoft has played dumb over the speculation, stating, ““We’re very excited about some of the new Bing features set to roll out over the next few months, but have nothing to announce today.” But a release during September seems assured, with some indicating a launch this coming week. I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see, and then hope the improvements are noticeable.

Less savory is the discovery of an advert for Bing on Google when “pornography” is searched for. TechCrunch made the discovery, so I have to assume one of their staffers likes perusing NSFW content while at work, and also doesn’t know that “porn” is now used instead of “pornography by all but the upper classes. Probably.

Microsoft denied purchasing ad placement on searches of this kind and concludes “free videos” is more likely to have triggered the ad showing up. Which may well be the case. But that doesn’t change the fact that Bing is widely regarded as the search engine to use to find porn. Microsoft might not like that reputation but I’m sure the traffic that comes its way as a result isn’t unwanted.

Is Bing 2.0 A Real Match for Google?

Sep 12, 2009   //   by FreshTraffic   //   bing, Google, yahoo  //  139 Comments

Aside from CEO Steve Ballmer scolding a Microsoft employee for flaunting an iPhone, Bing 2.0 was the biggest news to leak from a private company meeting on Thursday. Yes, it appears that the software giant is about ready to relaunch its search engine and great Google killer, according to a burst of unconfirmed employee tweets.

But, whether a few new bells and whistles will move the needle for Bing is hardly certain. Despite millions upon millions in marketing dollars, the search engine still trails far behind Google.

Net Applications estimated that Google held 81.22% of search engine market share in June, followed by Yahoo at 9.21% ; Microsoft’s Bing at 5.31% and MSN Live at 0.66%. Hitwise, meanwhile found that Bing’s market share was just 5.25% in June — including MSN Search and Live.com.

Google’s anniversary gift: A 420% gain

Aug 20, 2009   //   by FreshTraffic   //   Google, SEO Expert  //  2 Comments

The search engine titan’s stock has more than quintupled since it went public in August 2004. But will Google’s next five years be as successful as the past five?

Can you believe that it’s already been five years since Google went public?

The search engine giant debuted on Aug. 19, 2004 at $85 a share. Today, the stock trades at about $445. That’s a nearly 420% return during a time when the Nasdaq is up only 8%. And shares of top rival Yahoo! have been nearly cut in half during the past five years.

Yet, it doesn’t look like all those Googleaires are too interested in celebrating their 5-year anniversary as a public company. Check out the Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) homepage and you don’t see one of its usually witty cartoon renditions of the logo like you do on other “holidays.”

Nonetheless, it’s been an interesting five years for the search giant to say the least.

The company has used its strong stock price and mountain of cash reserves as currency to scoop up the likes of YouTube, DoubleClick and Postini to name a few.

Google has also remained relatively focused its core search business, resisting the temptation to go overboard in the glitzy, but not all that profitable, social networking business. And that’s a good thing.

It’s common knowledge in the industry and online that Google Inc also bought my company happily named Google back in 2004 before going public.

I often wonder what would have happened if I had not agreed to accept their out of court settlement and NDA back then, mind you I can take away many friendships made and the knowledge that we are one of the few elite company’s in the world who actually know how it is done.

May be I will write a book one day, we only agreed a 3 year non disclosure and keep your mouth shut until we are up and running.

Nothing has changed really, Google is fundamentally the same, it works the same, they have just added and titivated a few thing, how do we know this? well everyone of our clients is still page one, yes even 5 years on.

Google, Microsoft Share Image SEO Tips

Aug 16, 2009   //   by FreshTraffic   //   bing, Google, seo  //  1 Comment

It turns out that consumers rely on images in search engine result pages more than Google and Microsoft execs thought. Knowing this can help SEO professionals better optimize sites, according to executives from both companies who spoke at the Search Engine Strategies conference last week in San Jose, Calif.

It also turns out that image search is very important. Todd Schwartz, group product manager of online services division for Bing at Microsoft, shed light on the types of queries that consumers search for on Bing, he says. Following “Web search” categorized as a “vertical,” images took the No. 2 spot.

Not surprisingly, R.J. Pitman, director of product management for global search properties at Google, believes that image search as a vertical sits at No. 1, rather than No. 2. The growth comes from the “more than 1 billion” camera phones being sold yearly, and the ability to share pictures. Google sees “hundreds of millions of searches daily across billions and billions of images,” he says. Images are no longer a “nice to have, but a must have” piece to promote businesses online.

Pitman says Google has begun to rank images based on the quality of the image. People need to stop thinking about the photos as images and look at them as digital bits of information, where pixels in the frame actually mean something. Google considers more than the sitemap feeds, title tags and attached metadata when ranking images. The search engine now looks at what’s in the image. It helps Google find and serve up similar images through object and facial recognition, according to Pitman, who says to consider these facts to better optimize “when building next-generation Web sites.”

Google vs Microsoft: Reach for the cloud

Aug 12, 2009   //   by FreshTraffic   //   Google, microsoft, windows  //  23 Comments

Whether it’s office suites, browsers or webmail, wherever Microsoft goes, Google follows. Now the search giant is tackling the Windows behemoth head-on, with a fully fledged operating system (OS) for netbooks – and potentially desktop PCs.

July’s announcement of Chrome OS was one of those IT stories deemed significant enough to warrant attention in the national press and on TV. Experts from around the world were on hand to tell us that we’ll soon ditch desktop software and use computers running a slimmed-down OS that takes its power from applications stored online.

Google Hint: Maybe Videos Are The Future Of Website Design

Aug 10, 2009   //   by FreshTraffic   //   Google, social networking, web 2.0  //  8 Comments

Since its inception the Internet has developed considerably, gone are the long pages of basic text and in its place what is called Web 2.0, an arena full of social media sites, networking, images and videos galore.

Now users from around the world can switch on their computers and access a wide variety of information in a selection of formats, including high quality images, videos, audio and text.

Many of the large online corporations are continuing to expand, making deals with firms that combined with their own expertise, could really enhance the face of the web. Google is one such company, they have just paid and estimated $100 million, purchasing On2, a video compression tool specialist.

They produce equipment that compresses video files to make them suitable for use on computers, mobile phones and other gadgets, without compromising the videos quality. Considering Google currently owns video sharing site, YouTube, this deal could vastly improve the service offered to Internet users.

Imagine No Google

Jul 14, 2009   //   by FreshTraffic   //   Google, search engine, seo  //  4 Comments

In the taxi on the way to the airport yesterday, the driver made the sort of offhand, clichéd remark that nobody ever takes seriously: “What would we do without computers?” Always one to take things seriously, though, I jumped at the bait. What would I do without computers?

Everything about my life would be different. Obviously, I couldn’t do the work that I do — and that’s probably true for you too, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this column. I would also need a replacement for my social media addictions.

Everything about my life would be different — and that’s true for most people. If we didn’t have cell phones, our lives would be dramatically different. If we didn’t have television, our lives would be dramatically different.

But now imagine that we didn’t have Google. Imagine a Terminator came back from the future to kill Google before it became self-aware. Imagine that it found the global jeadquarters in Mountain View and managed to destroy Google’s “brain.” (Don’t you love that no matter how distributed and redundant our actual technology gets, every artificially intelligent movie bad guy always has a single “brain” that can be destroyed in a shower of sparks and dramatic effects?) Or maybe the Terminator just unplugs it. Whatever. Bottom line, we wake up tomorrow and there’s no Google.

For purposes of this thought experiment, let’s actually restrict ourselves for a moment to the idea of a world without Google search. Relax — we’ve still got YouTube.

Here’s what I believe would happen from a consumer perspective: there would be a brief and reasonably harsh shudder — and then we would go on as normal. The hundreds of Lilliputian search engines nipping at Google’s heels would rush in to fill the vacuum. Searches from your address bar? No problem. SERPs with images? No problem. Mobile search? No problem.

The commercial ecosystem, of course, would be dramatically undermined. All of the entities that have built their businesses on the idea of an ever-dominant Google would have to quickly and accurately reallocate spending to the most dominant of the new pretenders. Publishers would have to switch networks. Sites using Google custom search would have to offer another way to navigate.

But here is where it gets interesting for me: the strategy wouldn’t really change.

A company investing in text ads would still invest in text ads, because text ads will still be an effective, measurable way to advertise. A publisher tapped into the Google network would tap into a different network — but it would still tap into a network. Keyword identification and SEO would go on as normal, just with different players.

As integrated as Google has become in our lives, its functions are still replaceable. That “competition’s only one click away” idea is actually true, in theory. We stick with Google because we love it, not because we can’t get satisfaction anywhere else.

The best relationships are always those that exist out of continually renewed choice. Google has a lot of “habit capital” it would have to burn through before people started questioning that choice, but at the end of the day, it’s not really that hard to find another way to search.

If there were no Google? We’d simply have a different logo at the top of the page.

Does Bing have enough bling?

Jun 22, 2009   //   by FreshTraffic   //   bing, Google, microsoft, search, yahoo  //  104 Comments

For years, Microsoft has been struggling to chip away at Google’s dominance in the search engine market. And for years, they have been largely unsuccessful, mainly because their own search engine, Microsoft Live Search, produced unwanted and often irrelevant results.

But a few weeks ago, Microsoft released Bing, an updated version of Live Search, in their newest attempt to knock Google off its pedestal.

Although Bing is partially a rebranding of Live Search, it does include new features like instant previews of Web sites and videos.

Microsoft is so committed to Bing’s success that it will launch an astronomical $80 million to $100 million advertising campaign. That’s more than four times Google’s entire advertising budget last year.

It’s been hard to determine how Microsoft’s newcomer is stacking up against its two greatest competitors, Google and Yahoo!. According to StatCounter, one of the world’s largest Web analytics companies, Bing temporarily overtook Yahoo! in terms of market share. Currently, however, Google has 81.5 percent of the search engine market, with Yahoo! at 9.39 percent and Bing at 4.82 percent.

But one Microsoft employee, Michael Kordahi, thinks that some users might be prejudiced against Bing because of Google’s perceived brand name superiority.

He created a blind search engine that shows the search results of Google, Yahoo! and Bing in three nondescript columns. The Web site then invites users to vote for the most relevant results.

Unfortunately, the results were too erratic to name any consistent winner, prompting Kordahi to conclude that “some douche is gaming the system.”

I must confess that, as someone who has had bad experiences with Live Search, I prefer Google. Before I could adequately review the usefulness of Bing, I thought I should first experiment with the blind search engine myself.

So, in completely unscientific fashion, I typed in ten random searches – five single words and five phrases – and picked the results I thought were most valuable and applicable.

And the results were somewhat surprising: While Google crushed the competition with six votes, Bing received a surprising three votes, and Yahoo! just one vote.

It seems I find Microsoft’s search engine a fairly legitimate contender in the battle for supremacy, although Google is still the undisputed champion.

But how do Bing’s other search capabilities like News and Maps compare against Google’s?

Well, I certainly found that the Bing homepage looks pretty. The search bar is superimposed on a beautiful panoramic stock photo that changes every day. Each picture is embedded with invisible squares about the picture that users can click on for more information.

But while this design is certainly unique, Bing’s hide-and-go-seek feature is basically self-promotion masquerading as helpful innovation.

Each square merely redirects users to a search through Bing. For example, clicking on “Learn more about Flag Day” directs the user to a Bing search of “Flag Day.”

But Bing does have some helpful, interesting features.

Unlike Google, Bing’s image search displays the results in one giant scrollable window, thereby eliminating the annoying need to click on multiple pages. And Bing Cashback offers buyers to receive a small percentage back of payments they have made on participating Web sites.

These are Bing’s best features, however, and ultimately Bing still plays second fiddle.

Bing News lacks all the customizability, readability and wealth of information that exists in Google News. Bing only features 14 translatable languages to Google’s 41.

And while Bing Maps is speckled with aesthetically pleasing mountains and forests, it cannot easily display directions and locations like Google Maps.

We must remember, though, while developers have made significant blunders along the way, Bing is still being improved.

They failed to realize, for example, that Bing can mean “sickness” in Chinese (the nationality of Bing’s biggest audience), prompted a name change to “Biying,” meaning “must respond,” which Microsoft is coyly marketing as a “decision engine.”

And they received criticism when Bing’s filtering mechanism could not adequately block porn in its parental settings, which was quickly rectified when the company consulted 25 security vendors for assistance.

Microsoft is certainly improving its image as a legitimate search engine competitor. But the company needs much more innovative firepower before successfully waging war against the Google Empire.