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Google’s Upcoming Search Changes – The Real Deal or Just a PR Play?

Google’s Upcoming Search Changes – The Real Deal or Just a PR Play?

Written by: on Monday, March 19th, 2012
Posted to: Google

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A few days ago, the Wall Street Journal ran a story titled Google Gives Search a Refresh. Considering that it talks about the dominant search engine in the world doing an overhaul of its system, the story picked up pace in no time and spread like wildfire.

google-search-new

The article talked about Google’s push of semantic search into its algorithm where in the search engine will try to directly answer a user’s query first before showing it a list of results from around the web. Here’s a quick quote from the story:

Over the next few months, Google’s search engine will begin spitting out more than a list of blue Web links. It will also present more facts and direct answers to queries at the top of the search-results page.

Now, our readers would agree that Google kinda does that already. And this is what Danny Sullivan argued in his lengthy rebuttal to WSJ’s post. He mentioned Google products like Google Squared which continue to survive and Google’s current direct answer capabilities, and went on to say that this is nothing but a PR play by Google to restore user confidence in its brand which has been dented by some of the recent events, or I should say recent product introductions.

Sarah Perez over at TechCrunch agrees with Sullivan that Google wants to shift attention from the negative publicity it got (and continues to get) from stuff like Search Plus Your World, and Google Search is always changing so this isn’t a very big news.

Business Insider says Google thinks Bing is right and hence it’s taking this route.

So, what do you think? Is this announcement of “big change” just a PR play like most of the tech community thinks, or is there more than meets the eye?

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GMail HTML View: When AJAX Slows You Down

GMail HTML View: When AJAX Slows You Down

Written by: on Monday, January 15th, 2007
Posted to: Gmail,Google

3 comments, add yours!

One of the best things that Google had to offer when it started out was that it used an AJAX interface. This meant users no longer had to refresh their screens whenever they needed to check for new mail. This also meant that loading pages (emails, setting screens, folders/views) is faster, because your Web browser no longer had to load the entire page, but only a portion within.

This is considered to be an advantage over other web-based email services. You will notice how robust Gmail’s interface is. For one, refreshing an entire screen will take some time, especially if you’re on a slow connection, and more so if you’re using a slow machine. Also, it’s not just about the speed, but also the functionality. Using AJAX means you can include just about any dynamic content on the Gmail screen. Google took advantage of this and added notifications and even Google talk chat!

However, this robustness comes at a price. The initial loading time of Gmail takes longer than a static page because the AJAX container is itself loaded up the first time you open a Gmail session. So Gmail is only zippy once you have gone past loading the Gmail page itself. This could be a problem if you’re using a dial-up connection, since the first load might take anywhere from 500 Kilobytes to 1 Megabyte (or even more), which translates to five minutes on a 56Kbps connection in ideal times. It takes even longer when you have Gmail+chat loaded.

One alternative would be to keep your Gmail interface open on your web browser even when you disconnect. This way, when you reconnect, you won’t have to reload the whole thing, and the system will only load message headers (Windows hibernate mode or Mac OS X sleep mode are especially useful for this purpose).

Another solution: use HTML view. This type of view does away with the AJAX interface and presents a plain HTML Gmail interface. The primary purpose of HTML view is for those browsers that don’t support AJAX, such as older versions of Internet Explorer, Netscape, and even text-based browsers like Lynx, or when using alternative devices like mobile phones. However, HTML view can also come in handy even with supported browsers.

How to activate HTML view. Once logged in to standard view already, look for the basic HTML view link at the bottom part of the page.

Picture 9.png

Once you click that link, you will be logged into Gmail using HTML view on your subsequent visits from the browser you’re currently using. If you want to log in using standard view, regardless of browser, or after switching to HTML view, key this in your address box.

http://mail.google.com/gmail?nocheckbrowser


3 Responses to “GMail HTML View: When AJAX Slows You Down”

  1. Drewon 30 Jan 2007 at 2:46 pm

    Question. Is there a way to get at that without accessing gmail? For example, if for some reason the main page isn’t loading at all, is there an address I can use to get into the HTML view so it can load faster?

  2. GT Staffon 30 Jan 2007 at 11:12 pm

    Hmm. For one, I think Google automatically detects if your browser can support the standard version. But I check the link for HTML view on my Gmail page, it says this.

    https://mail.google.com/mail/?ui=html&zy=f

    Might be worth trying that out.

  3. dull_jesteron 05 Jun 2008 at 2:12 pm

    I can’t access the incoming letter (in fact, anything at all)
    in HTML mode from lynx. What od you say?

Google’s New Ad Format: Video!

Google’s New Ad Format: Video!

Google just announced a new AdSense ad format for publishers and advertisers: video. This system is basically still the usualy contextually-targeted advertisement by Google, but this time instead of text or image ads, your readers get to videos.

Isn’t that more interesting than just plain ol’ text ads? This presents an exciting new opportunity for advertisers and artistic types, too. Goodbye television? Probably not anytime soon, but we’re getting there.

Google video ads only play when clicked, so they won’t be an annoyance to readers who would rather see just static pages (i.e., no multimedia).

Google click-to-play video ads are played in-browser, meaning viewers will not need additional software (except perhaps the usual Flash plugin, which is actually built-in already into today’s modern browsers. Available ad formats at present are the standard 300×250 medium rectangle (reportedly the most effective in text and image ads, 336×280 large rectangle, or 250×250 square.

Google AdSense blog says that optimizing for video ads is just the same as optimizing for image or text ads–one should take into consideration the quality of content, and ad placement. While no guarantees are given, optimized content and ad placement would usually increase earning possibilities.

The concept of delivering video-format Internet commercials is getting to be interesting. We wonder if Google’s main competitors in this area (such as Yahoo! and MSN) would venture into this soon.

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Cooking with Google

Cooking with Google

Written by: on Monday, March 28th, 2005
Posted to: APIs,Google,Search

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Cooking with Google

Google provides API’s for programmers who wish to create custom programs that can tap into their 8 billion web pages. some are useful and some are fun–Cooking with Google by Tara Calishain at Research Buzz is both!

She has written an API with which you list the ingredients you have in your kitchen, the type of meal you wish to prepare (Vegetarian, Atkins Seafood, etc.) and viola!, you get a list of recipes you can whip up without running to the store. Give it a try here.

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DIGG: A Quickie Way To Get A PR 4 to 6

DIGG: A Quickie Way To Get A PR 4 to 6

Written by: Peter Jalbert on Tuesday, March 6th, 2007
Posted to: Digg, Google, Search

2 comments, add yours!

DIGG sure is a quick way to get from zero to something on Google, at least pagerank-wise. And no, you don’t have to get frontpaged all the time (which is no easy feat). Tech Soapbox posts about an experiment with DIGG and blogging.

Not going to make any friends this way. But we tried this out, it was fun:

1. Find Digg frontpage stories
2. ‘Blog it’
3. Repeat for every frontpage story [for at least 100 stories]
4. Wait 6 months, voila – PR4-6

Mind you this was an experiment, and we already shut it down. But something to note.

I’ve always had an inkling that this was good for SEO. But it’s true that this won’t make you any friends! It’s like you’re blogging but you’re just scraping content off DIGG.

And the reason behind this: Frontpaged DIGG stories often get good Google juice. For one, they get linked to a lot. And then the story pages also get high pageranks of their own. And add to that some relevant keywords stuffed inside the comment threads. You’ve got yourself good candidates for high-ranking results in Google SERPs.

Now when you hit the “blog it” button and actually let DIGG publish a copy of the headline and summary on your blog, DIGG will automatically add a link to your site under the “who blogged this” section of that page. Voila! Instant linkback to your site, from none less than DIGG itself. Do this a hundred times over, and it might appear to Google that DIGG is linking to your site from a lot of pages.

Now the 6 million dollar question is: what the heck would you do with all those blogged stories? You’ll have to keep the content because DIGG links to the static pages and not just your blog domain. Take them down and pretty soon Google will learn the DIGG pages are pointing to dead links, and you might end up in a worse position than you started.


2 Responses to “DIGG: A Quickie Way To Get A PR 4 to 6”

  1. Bryanon 08 Mar 2007 at 4:24 pm

    This is actually quite humorous. It would help build up your blog, but at the same time you would be copying information and wouldn’t that legally and ethically be illegal?

  2. j4s0non 08 Mar 2007 at 8:11 pm

    Well, does getting posted it on digg make’s it legal?

Personalizing Google Maps: My Maps

Personalizing Google Maps: My Maps

Written by: Peter Jalbert on Wednesday, July 18th, 2007
Posted to: Google, Maps

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In my previous post I introduced the My Maps feature of Google Maps: a feature added by Google to bring maps mash-up to the masses.

This effort to bring a more personalized experience to users of the Google Maps service is a two-pronged approach. First, users are given a basic set of tools to create and annotate personalized maps. Second, users are given a directory of interactive maps created by other people.

To start, from the Google Maps main view, click on the My Maps tab on the top. This will bring out the My Maps sidebar where you can do either of the three things: The create new map gets you started in creating your own annotated map, the Add content button brings up the directory of maplets that you can add to your own personalized version of Google maps. You can also quickly use one of the featured content shown at the bottom part of the My Maps sidebar by clicking on it.
my_maps_main.png

For example, below is the Google Real Estate Search, showing the form where you enter your search criteria, and the list of results below it, each one corresponding to a particular push pin on the map.
googlemaps_real_estate_search_thumb.png

Examples of these maplets include a US Address Lookup, Gas Prices, Google Real Estate search, Weather Bug and even a distance tool and an area calculator.
maps_directory.png

There are many map content that you can see in the directory that you can use. If you want to add a particular maplet / content to your maps, just click add. These will be added to the My Maps sidebar. From there, enabling a content to show in your personalize Google Map is as simple as ticking the checkbox beside it.

Creating Maps

My Maps also allows you to create your own maps.

You can create your own maps to:

  • Mark your favorite places on your map
  • Draw lines and shapes to highlight paths and areas
  • Add your own text, photos, and videos
  • Share your map with friends and family

To start creating your own map,

  1. Click on the Create new map link (or the Create new map button if you still have an empty My Maps sidebar)
  2. Add a title and description for your map
  3. Use the icons in the top right corner of the map

new_map.png
ceate_map_ui.png

The Google Maps user guide section on My Maps has a comprehensive tutorial explaining all the things you can do in your created map.

Now you can start personalizing your own Google Maps.

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Google Can Translate Poetry

Google Can Translate Poetry

Written by: Peter Jalbert on Tuesday, October 12th, 2010
Posted to: Google,News,Translate Tools

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PoemHave you ever tried to translate poetry? If you have, you certainly know what a challenge it can be. The task is often difficult for humans – after all, understanding the words behind the poetry is often a subjective affair, but this task can be even more trying for a computer. Knowing this, the guys over at Google have decided to put Google Translate to the test.

Wondering what we’re talking about? This year, at the EMNLP conference, the Google guys will be presenting a paper on the translation of poetry in which they investigate the technical challenges of translating meter and rhyme schemes.

Academics argue over the value of preserving rhyme and meter in poetic translation.  One school of thought conveys that in order to preserve the meaning, the form of the poem must be sacrificed while others believe that the form is of the utmost importance.  Google has played around with both.

As you may or may not know, Google Translate is a statistical machine translation system. The way it works is that it will search through a variety of possible translations and choose the ones that are statistically more accurate. In order to translate poetry, this system must not only consider accuracy but also rhyme and meter. To do this successfully, Google modified its algorithm to sacrifice some accuracy rather than the form.

One of the results of this modification is that Google Translate can actually translate anything into poetry. With this you can even specify the genre such as a haiku or limerick.

Just so you know, this particular system is not going to be made public anytime soon.

Source – googletranslate.blogspot.com

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Yahoo Messenger for Web vs. Google Talk for Web

Yahoo Messenger for Web vs. Google Talk for Web

Written by: Peter Jalbert on Thursday, May 10th, 2007
Posted to: Fun Stuff,Google,IM/Chat/Talk

2 comments, add yours!

I am a big fan of Instant Messaging. Though I must admit that I favor Yahoo Messenger more than any other IM clients, especially Yahoo Messenger for Mac, I must say that I definitely like Google Talk for Web better than Yahoo Messenger for Web.

Let’s compare the two objectively. I’ll start with the pluses for Yahoo Messenger for Web.

  • Slick interface.
  • Eye candy.
  • Full-featured, minus the voice and video messaging capabilities.
  • Shows graphic smileys, avatars and pictures.
  • Records the chat history.
  • Big window to chat in.

The limitations of Yahoo Messenger for Web:

  • Though it is definitely aesthetically pleasing, having the contact list to the left and the chat/message boxes to the right takes some getting used to, especially for left-oriented users like me.
  • Although I’ve been logged in to yahoomail, set at two weeks, the sign-on needed to be confirmed.
  • No link for quick emailing.
  • Long URL.

The pluses of Google Talk for Web:

  • Simple, uncluttered interface.
  • You can go “off the record,” meaning the servers won’t log your chats.
  • Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calling.
  • Link to gmail, for quick emails.
  • The smileys animate: they twist from their original position (on their sides), to an upright smiley position.
  • Short, easy-to-remember URL.

The downside to Google Talk for Web:

  • The default window is small, like the size of a normal IM client contact/main window. But you can always resize it.
  • The smileys, though they twist to look like right-side-up faces, remain to be text characters.
  • Some people may find the interface too simple, like the Google Talk downloadable program.

The similarities of both web-based chat clients:

  • Both can do alert sounds.
  • Both are java-based.
  • Both do tabs.
  • Both can show avatars and user pictures.
  • Both load pretty fast on either an OS X or Linux machines. The OS X machine has 512 MB of RAM, while the Linux machine has only 256 MB.
  • Both do not have the mail alert feature as on their downloadable versions.

Yahoo Messenger for Web is more user-friendly and more pleasing to the eyes, no doubt. But I like the simplicity of Google Talk for Web. In fact, I actually like the Google Talk web application better than the downloadable one. The animated smileys, though, truly endeared me to the Google Talk web application. I was so amused to see them twist and turn into “real” smileys. Though the smileys were not the graphic kind, there was something charming and quirky about the animated text smileys.

On the whole, either web application has its strong and weak points. The bottom line is that they let you communicate, and they make themselves essential to your lifestyle. Choosing which service to subscribe to would depend only on your preferences, and where the bulk of your contacts are in. But between the two, I’d go for Google Talk for Web anyday. It really must be the smileys. :p


2 Responses to “Yahoo Messenger for Web vs. Google Talk for Web”

  1. Secret telleron 12 May 2007 at 6:26 am

    Yahoo Messenger is great and still looking pretty good.But voice chat is preferable good in google.

    Both are good. Google mails attachment is somewhat difficult to download it will stop responding at the half stage of downloading..

    Yahoo mail is best.

  2. lucky luckyon 12 Sep 2007 at 9:03 pm

    i am able to do every thing very fast in yahoo messenger than in any other.

The URL according to Google

The URL according to Google

Written by: The Tutor on Wednesday, August 15th, 2007
Posted to: Google,Matt Cutts,Webmaster

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Matt’s got a nice write up of how they refer to an URL within Google. For the most part it’s not Google specific at all making it a pretty useful little tutorial on the different parts of an URL.

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Only the Freshest Pages Please!

Only the Freshest Pages Please!

Written by: The Tutor on Friday, April 29th, 2005
Posted to: APIs, Google, Search

5 comments, add yours!

This is a simple yet very important tip, but one that I know most Googlers never use. By using it your searches for timely information it will more likely present pages with more recently written or updated information. With a simple selection, you can include in your results only web pages that have been written or updated, and crawled and indexed by Google in the past three months, six months or year. Think about how critical this can be in the researching of important things like prescription drugs.

To access this feature, simply use Google’s Advanced Search page. On this page you’ll see the selection for “Date.” Use the drop-down selection box to select only pages that have been updated in either the past three months, the past six months, the past year, or anytime (regular search).

 

Fresh Pages with Advanced Search
 

There is also a third-party API-based Search called GooFresh that will allow you to search for new/updated pages in Google with selections of today, yesterday, last seven days and last 30 days.


5 Responses to “Only the Freshest Pages Please!”

  1. Abbyon 29 Apr 2005 at 9:55 am

    Is there a way to set this as a relatively permanent preference?

  2. Herr Theoretikeron 29 Apr 2005 at 9:55 am

    I played around with the “Freshest Pages” tip, and I discovered that you can actually get to the three date-limited searches without going to the Advanced Search page. The URLs are as follows:

    3 months:
    http://www.google.com/search?as_qdr=m3&as_q=***

    6 months:
    http://www.google.com/search?as_qdr=m6&as_q=***

    One year:
    http://www.google.com/search?as_qdr=y&as_q=***

    You have to enter in your search query in the place of “***”, of course. I tried modifying the “as_qdr” parameter for other lengths of time, but it appears that Google only supports these three specific date limitations. It won’t even accept “12m” or “1y” as a parameter; a one-year search limitation can only be specified, with no numeral, as “y”.

    On OSX, these three searches can be directly used with Quicksilver. If the URLs are added to a browser’s bookmarks (and the plugin for that browser is loaded in Quicksilver), QS automatically senses that these bookmarks are searches and allows your search term to replace the “***” string in the URL. The trick is to name the bookmarks properly so that you can find them easily with Quicksilver.

    Unfortunately, Quicksilver can’t use these URLs as searches if you put them in del.icio.us and access them with the del.icio.us plugin; the ampersand (”&”) character confuses the del.icio.us plugin and nothing happens when you select the bookmark.

  3. Markon 29 Apr 2005 at 10:07 am

    Thanks for the great info Herr.

  4. Jason Stellon 02 May 2005 at 12:13 pm

    In Firefox, you can add this parameter to the Google search string by going to the about:config page (type “about:config” in the location field and hit enter) and changing the value of the property named “keyword.URL”.

  5. Jason Stellon 02 May 2005 at 12:13 pm

    In Firefox, you can add this parameter to the Google search string by going to the about:config page (type “about:config” in the location field and hit enter) and changing the value of the property named “keyword.URL”.

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