The business of Search covers a wide area: web search, mobile search, video search etc - you'll find that and all the techniques, and intricacies associated with it here.

Google launch Version 3 of the Toolbar

Thread Title: Green bar mayhem to ensue! Thread Url: Thread Description:

Yup, version 3 of the Google Toolbar has been launched. I haven't looked at it yet but CNet are reporting the following:

Version 3 of the software also lets people automatically check their spelling in Web forms; translate words in English into several languages; and add Web links to certain plain text. For example, an address could be enhanced with a hypertext link to its location on a map, with the click of a button on the toolbar.

Driving Directions straight to your phone from Yahoo

Thread Title: Help, I'm lost!!!! Thread Url: Thread Description:

It's a pity it's US and CA only but Yahoo are now sending driving directions to your phone via SMS.

Imagine this true story, you're a poor SEOing Brit lost in the depths of Ontario in a horrendous storm and you have no f*&$ing idea where you are. You drive around for hours looking for what might be a landmark, a sign or (hopefully) a person who could help out.

None were found, just fields of corn and the odd animal.

If Yahoo had launched this a few years ago that poor little lost Brit could have opened his phone, started a GPRS session, entered a WAP browser and had details to get him home sent to him.

Ahhh if only......

Anyway, well done Yahoo, just launch it for Europe. We get lost too !!!

Jeeves to run Adwords Clone [lies lies lies...]

Thread Title: Ask Jeeves Joins Forces with Enhance to Offer Google AdWords Alternative Thread Url: Thread Description:

UPDATE: Andy Beal is wiping a little egg of his face and i'd imagine that Enhance are busy backpeddling for all it's worth wih an angry Jeeves Rep about now. Apparently this was "creative wording" - Which means it's all bollocks.

SEL bring us news of a team up for Ask with Enhance Interactive:

According to an email being sent out by Enhance's account controllers, the paid search company has joined forces with Ask Jeeves, to offer any alternative to Google

from the email in question:

"We are happy to announce our new partnership with Ask Jeeves, Inc. This partnership allows advertisers to deliver contextually targeted, relevant ads that visually involve users and help express the value of their product or service. "

More as it happens...

Google Adwords & Spyware - Trust and Responsibility

Thread Title: Should We Trust Google's Sponsored Links? Thread Url: Thread Description:

There was some hoohah a little while back about Google Adwords being used to promote malicious spyware, now dow jones columnist jeremy wagstaff asks Should We Trust Google's Sponsored Links? and follows up with More On Trusting Google's Sponsored Links

In his first post he talks about some particular companies coming up for spyware removal type queries that appear, to want to install spyware! and the follow up goes on to recount a conversation with Ben Edelman, somewhat of a spyware expert:

Ben’s advice to users interested in a sponsored link:

Do not trust sponsored links as to spyware removal applications; Do not trust sponsored links too much in general. For some keywords, merchants and sites are self-authenticating -- clearly is who it is. But don't take presence on the sponsored link list as a good indicator of trustworthiness. Sponsored links can be bought. In contrast, Google's organic results (the ones at the left of Google search results) are not for sale. The organic results can (mostly) only be earned by putting up good web sites and getting others to link to those sites.

I asked him, whether it was his impression that rogue anti-spy is a growing industry, or more generally, software that claims to do one thing, but does another (instead of, or in addition)?

Ben’s answer: Yes. and those who need/seek spyware removal are, demonstrably, at particular risk of being taken advantage of. They've already been taken advantage of, may be easier to trick gain. [They] are feeling vulnerable, in a hurry to get software to fix their problems etc

Now, we know that Google have somewhat of a reputation for avoiding blame on things such as Google News throwing up bogus or harmful stories by claiming that it's just an algorithm, but what about when it comes to harmful Adwords, when they accept $$$'s for an ad that turns out to be damaging to users?

Shiney Badges from Google

Thread Title: Anyone now have their Pro logo? Thread Url: Thread Description:

I see that Adwords have released the first of their shiny badges for professional Adwords guys. That would be as opposed to unprofessional adwords guys, presumably defined by lack of said shiney badge.

AdWordsRep - YANGR at wmw is also giving away free T-shirts and hats apparently:

Hmmmmm, I'm not sure why, but I just have this very strong feeling that the first batch of logo recipients would really like, oh, say, a G hat and t-shirt.

Let's call it an intuition. :)

I'll go drop the hint in a few well chosen places. Can't promise anything, but it seems like a great idea to me too. ;)

I don't recall t-shirt size being part of the sign-up screens though. Uh-oh. =:/

Which puts the whole thing into perfect perspective for me...


One for the Toolbox -

Thread Title: Thread Url: Thread Description:

This nice tool: TurboScout comes in via SEL - Essentially it's a way of comparing results across multiple Search Engines very quickly and neatly.

Im not big on these kinds of things usually but this seems more than useful to me - I also note that the inventor, William Chee, has been over to cre8asite to spam er.. i mean, promote the tool there :)

When is a Search Engine Penalty not a Penalty?

Thread Title: Why Not Call A Penalty A Penalty?, What's your definition? Thread Url: Thread Description:

An interesting discussion developing at HighRankings on the subject of search engine penalties. The point being that many web devs and seos tend to label any and all drops in rankings as a "penalty" and some, like me for example, do not feel this helps either the web marketing community or the search engines.

For my part, I think the incorrect labeling of ranking drops just goes to help foster the carefully planted myths that Search engineers have placed within the seo community - but that does come with the caveat of me being a fully paid up member of the tinfoil hat Search theorists association :)

My two cents here. I've noticed a lot of people getting offended by our calling whatever happens when your rankings drop because of something you did a "penalty". I'm just curious... if a Google employee reads a forum post and notices someone saying they were penalized by Google over something, are they going to punish them a result? Is Big Brother watching us or something? If not, why do we have to be so politically correct about everything? Maybe "penalty" isn't the best word, but it gets the point across. I mean, you do something, and something bad happens as a result... you've been penalized.

On a closely related note, Chris points out that there are many legitimate reasons for companies to run multiple domains and interlink them - but that they often fall foul of Search algoritms designed to knobble seo efforts to manipulate rankings.

This in itself makes me (again) wonder how long it will be before the bloggers start to realize that Google et al will slam your site algorithmically for quite a number of things and i also wonder if there'll be a backlash against the SE's when they do discover this....

Also see Search Engine Filters and Penalties - a discussion we had back in December that attempted to define a list of known penalties sites can fall foul of.

Desk Top Search and Personalization

Thread Title: Desktop Search and Revenue Streams Thread Url: Thread Description:

This short write up on HBS's Cyberposium panel titled "Search Visionary" holds a few interesting snippets that may prove insightful when looking at where Search is headed. Particularly this bit from Yahoo's Bradley Horowitz:

Yahoo is able to collect data, such as click patterns, from its users and use the information to individually "tune" searches to users' personal tendencies. Such product improvements, [Yahoo Director Bradley] Horowitz said, will change the nature of search from a one-size-fits-all experience to a more individually oriented one.

Also stuff in there from Ask, MSN and Google - thanks Greg

Google's Greatest Threat - Open Source

Thread Title: The Greatest Test of Open Source: Beating Google Thread Url: Thread Description:

Steve Mallet has an interesting, if slightly out there post over at the O'Reilly dev blogs today.

He speculates that Google's greatest threat, or Open Source's greatest challenge could come from a company or consortium that set up shop with Nutch the open source spider software that most of us will have seen in our logs at least once or twice in recent years.

Enter Nutch. Nutch is an open source search engine crawler, indexer, etc. The project appears to have been a bit dormant since its first media splash a few years ago, but has just recently become incubated with the Apache Software Foundation.

As I write this I have Nutch crawling a few sites just to test it out on my own. It's the fifth of my tests. I'm increasing the search depth, and playing with a few of its knobs & buttons. The first few tests worked, but weren't terribly compelling. Not that the Nutch site doesn't give you the straight goods upfront. Their site says, "Nutch has not yet been tuned for quality. There are ten or twenty knobs that we can twiddle to adjust the ranking formula. We are developing software to do this tuning automatically, but the current code just contains guesses. With a little tuning we should be able to get results that are competitive with those of major search engines."

Attract some more developers and I bet this happens sooner than later.

I've not played with Nutch but i understand it's easy enough to set up and get running so i may have to see if there's a Gentoo ebuild for it heh...

Google came under heavy fire recently for not giving back to the OS community when they owe so much of their success to it.

Is Wikipedia Dying a NoFollow Death?

Thread Title: Allegra & "no follow" Make Wikipedia Disappear from SERPs? Thread Url: Thread Description:

The good boys and girls at webmasterworld are discussing member MulitMan's personal observations that some Wikipedia pages are suffering dramatic loss of rankings.

The surmise is that the addition of nofollow to all outgoing links within hours of the announcement is the cause, with the requisite "no evidence whatsoever" rule strictly adhered too heh.. My feelings remain the same however, i see nofollow as an insult to the intelligence of webmasters and a barely veiled attempt to quell the rising whine of bloggers by saying "well, we did try..."

But i digress...

So, assuming of course that Google are actually honoring nofollow (they have never said that they do or will as Brian pointed out) is it harming Wikipedia?

I know that even Scoble gets flak for using nofollow in his main weblog and that many bloggers are now STFU about this ridiculous play by the SE's so is it a failure, or are enough people still under the ether to call it a success?


Added for Adam: Make that some bloggers! heh..

Oh no, Jeeves on the Telly aswell now?

Thread Title: Ask Jeeves Breaks Branding Campaign, Heats Up Search Marketing War Thread Url: Thread Description:

UPDATE: You can now see the TV Spots here

MediaPost report that Ask are to start airing 15sec TV spots:

The campaign, a series of six 15-second spots designed by TBWAChiatDay, San Francisco, will run on network television shows including "American Idol," "Arrested Development," and "The O.C."--which, coincidentally, recently aired an episode in which a character mentioned competing search engine A9.

Of the commentary i've seen on this so far, Battelle actually has some:

But somehow television feels so - hopeless. I doubt this is going to move the needle. What will? Grassoots buzz, the kind that began to build with the acquisition of Teoma, then Bloglines, and might continue should Ask keep up those kinds of moves, and succeed in some kind of integration play that yields superior online services. Ask's recent flirtations with the open source world is also interesting. In any case, it can never outspend Microsoft, which of all the companies in this space just might bull its way into the consumer's mind with the blunt instrument of a TV marketing spend. I'm not saying Ask is wasting its money (well, maybe I am). In the end, as good as those Chiat Day ads might be, the money might better be spent on the product itself.

Let me just add to that the fact that as long as Jeeves has that bloody stupid name and ridiculous logo/brand thing (the butler) how the hell can they expect to win over the younger set? To me, i cant see how spending $$$'s on prime spots in trendy tv shows can overcome the fact that the entire brand is bollocks period.

Buying bloglines was good, and it made me look up, so im with Battelle, this money would be better spent winning the "grass roots buzz" war rather than trying to "re-engage" their rather silly brand.

How to fix PageRank - If it is indeed broken...

Thread Title: Improving PageRank: The Papers Thread Url: Thread Description:

Orion posts links to a whole bunch of papers on the general theme of fixing pagerank

The Effect of the Back Button in a Random Walk: Application for PageRank Outlink Estimation For Pagerank Computation Under Missing Data Weighted PageRank Algorithm Trend Detection through Temporal Link Analysis Web Structure, Dynamics and Page Quality

And there was me thinking that pagerank geekiness had died and gone to nerd heaven... thanks to peter for pointing out the thread.

A rebuttal of Phil Craven's "Google Explained"

Thread Title: A rebuttal of Phil Craven's "Google Explained" Thread Url: Thread Description:

Comments are directed only at his PageRank explanation.

>>>His analysis is flawed, as are all the others he refers to, and many more that I have read. The chief problem with all these analytical papers is that they assume or arbitrate a closed system to preserve a PR average of 1.0. Google isn't doing that. The Web is an open system, not a closed system. Hence, any closed-system model will diverge from Google's practical application.

A very good read!

Google and the Golden Ratio

Thread Title: Phi, Pi, Fo Fum Thread Url: Thread Description:

When i first saw this post by DG it had just one line:

When writing link text, remember 1.618 Illuminating, really.

So i asked in the comments about it and then buzzed his IM. Im an impatient kind of chap. The conversation, and a subsequent one with a few friends elsewhere were more than intriguing - there is no proof as yet, but the speculation that Google may be using the golden ratio in it's algorithms proves to be an enticing theory at the very least.

The small discussion that followed that post was a damn good read aswell...

What is the Golden Ratio?

The golden ratio, or golden section is a number that crops up in nature, and particular beauty and perfection an astonishing number of times. A few facts to give you an idea of what we're talking about here:

Phi is the only number who's square can be produced by simply adding 1 and who's reciprocal by subtracting 1 It's found in music, art, nature and science It's digits have been calculated to 10 million, and they never repeat. It's rumoured that Da Vinci's mona lisa was created using the golden triangle

Most of those fact were lifted from The Golden Rule

Enough with History, what does it mean to Google and Search Marketers?

We don't know exactly but, with the evident inclusion of LSI/A in the recent Google algorithm shift, many are beginning, as a result of DG's post to suspect that 1.618 may feature strongly in one or many factors of the algo - and as DG pointed out: It's just geeky enough to be true.

Rumour: Yahoo set to leverage Blogosphere

Some interesting posts on Yahoo over the weekend that all seem to lead to the conclusion that we'll see some exciting stuff from Y! shortly as they expand their already impressive start on RSS and Blogging. Follow the title link for the full post.

Jeeves to build ASKBrowser based on Firefox

Thread Title: Mozilla's On Fire Thread Url: Thread Description:

Jeeves have been talking to Mozilla about Firefox, AJ DTS, open source and.... wait for it...... ASKBrowser! hehe..

Bit of a mix eh?

The neat thing is that they appear to be both courting Firefox, ala Google and considering AJ DTS going open source - getting into bed with the OS dev community would be a smart move on top of their recent trendy aquisition of Bloglines im thinking. And quite frankly, it's the most exciting stuff to come from the Butler in a very long time.

We went on to discuss three subjects: 1) AJ Desktop Search 2) AJ Leveraging Firefox Browser 3) XUL platform.

We discussed Ask Jeeves desktop search and the notion of open-sourcing it. We're open at two levels. Contributing just the core desktop indexing technology or possibly the entire desktop search application. They discussed how/what they would evaluate before accepting a major piece of code/product contribution: code size, internationalization, etc. Whether or not we partner with Mozilla on this effort, Chris and team thought it was a good idea for us to pursue overall.

ASK to build Browser

Im not so sure on this one. It doesn't fill me with enthusiasm or confidence, my first thought is bad move...

We shared AJ view and support for open source standard, especially on the desktop, and their efforts on Firefox and Thunderbird, both of which I'm impressed with. I shared that Mozilla browser didn't do it for me but Firefox certainly converted many of AJ engnineering (including myself) over exclusively to Firefox. We explained that we want to support and leverage Firefox by building extensions to and plug-ins within Firefox. We discussed the fact that it doesn't make sense for us to build a browser from scratch, but we think building Ask specific functionalities on top of Firefox to build an AJ-branded or co-branded browser could make sense in 2005.

Trust & Inheritance - Testing Hypotheticals and Google

Thread Title: On the Googleness of Being..., Google December 2004 changes... Thread Url: Thread Description:

Right, Google threads generally bore me to tears so I pretty much have been ignoring them as much as possible. Now along comes Michael Martinez with his observations and a hypothesis or two he would like to test with Google and it turns out to be one of the more interesting series of posts I've read in many months, re. Google.

Trusted Content Site - A Web site of long-established reputation in the Google index.

Reputation - The track record of a Web site according to Google's measure.

Child Inheritance - The instant or near-instant ranking success awarded to a child page because of the parent site's credibility as a Trusted Content Site.

Listing Inheritance - The transference of a search ranking from a static page to a dynamic page where the static page includes user-visible language indicating a site has changed location (URL).

What Michael does is put forward his observations in a couple of detailed and cogent posts which are, IMO, far above the usual Google theories found in most forums these days. Some might not be completely new but these observations are well put into words and worth reading.

Building a Definitive list of Search Engines

I'm looking at some internal code for those tools we all know, use and can't live without and wondered if there is a definitive list of search engines?

The kind I mean is one that incorporates all the different country level domains for all the major (and minor) functioning engines out there.

E.G. Google has these sites


Google American Samoa:

Google Argentina:

Google Australia:

Google Austria:

Google Azerbaijan:

Google Belarus:

Google Belgium:

Google Brazil:

Google British Virgin Islands:

Google Burundi:

Google Canada:

Google Chad:

Google Chile:

Google Colombia:

Google Costa Rica:

Google Cote D'Ivoire:

Google Cuba:

Google Democratic Republic of the Congo:

Google Denmark:

Google Djibouti:

Google Dominican Republic:

Google Ecuador:

Google El Salvador:

Google Estonia:

Google Fiji:

Google Finland:

Google France:

Google The Gambia:

Google Georgia:

Google Germany:

Google Gibraltar:

Google Greece:

Google Greenland:

Google Guernsey:

Google Honduras:

Google Hong Kong:

Spotting Google Hijacks and How to Handle Them

I would like to spot if anyone is trying to hijack my site through a redirect by running a script to look in referrer information, but my programmers tell me they have run experiments and there is nothing in referrer about the site performing the redirect. Referrer info only contains information about the previous site they clicked through from.

To compound this problem if the referrer is cloaking and directing only Google to my site, and sending human users elsewhere the only user coming via the redirect will be Googlebot. I don't know if Googlebot even gives referrer info.

Has anyone tried to write a tool to spot hijacks? Did you have success?

Added by Nick See DaveN's post a little further down for some practical advice on stopping a Hijack before it starts. Opens for Public BETA Testing

Thread Title: Thread Url: Thread Description: the new Shopping Search Engine from Michael Yang, is now Open for Public BETA Testing

Previously, the much whispered about new engine was only open to friends and family.

Michael Yang, who founded MySimon back in 1998 with partner, and now Become's CTO Yeogirl Yun, who founded WiseNut are busy at a pre-launch party right now and from the very brief look i've just had after registering for a beta account, they have much to celebrate.

Congratulations guys, the honeymoon lasts about 24hrs, just so ya know... hehe...

Added: Looks like Jason Dowdell will be blogging a bit about the party - read the first comment and check out mrs Jason giving "the warning" heh...