Posts Tagged ‘Google’

Google Instant Website Previews

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

In a previous blog we discussed the benefits, and even some of the arguments against, Google Instant.  Another feature of  the updated site is the preview aspect.

If you are searching for any term, with Google Instant turned on, you will see the results of your search term immediately. However, it can be time consuming to visit those pages in an effort to see which one has the exact information you are looking for. Because Google is interested in saving you time, they have added the preview feature to allow you to look at the page without navigating to it.

By clicking the magnifying glass icon next to the page you are interested in, you can see a quick look at what the site has to offer.

This icon will allow anyone utilizing the feature to avoid navigating back and forth between pages until they find the one most useful to them. For those ho work online as well as students and other professionals this addition will save hours over even a short period of time.

When popular websites like Google, that are already so user friendly and relevant, decide to update and add features in an effort to make the world wide web less tangled, it’s truly exciting.

Stay tuned here for future looks into what is new, different, and useful online.

Happy Birthday, Dizzy!

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Instant Search Results With Google Instant

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

In a world of instant everything we find it hard to wait even a minute for anything online. If we can’t get a web page to appear within a couple of seconds, most figure it’s probably not worth visiting.

The folks at Google are catering to that very need in our lives with ‘Google Instant’.

Now when you visit the Google home page and begin typing your search terms, Google begins searching and showing you the results. This omits the need to type in your complete sentence or search term if the correct site appears while showing you in milliseconds if your terms aren’t going to yield the results you are looking for.

They have also improved the predictions feature in the search box. So now if are typing and you see the correct finished term you can click it and see your results immediately. Google estimates that between the predictions feature and the instant search results they can save any surfer two to five second per search. For someone who works online and searches different sites, blogs, and articles all day long it can save hours over time and frustrations instantly.

There are those who would serve to question some of the prediction details. Google has created a list of words for which it will not predict or offer instant results. These words are meant to prevent promoting sexual or inappropriate websites, however the list is ‘imperfect’ admits a Google spokesperson to the media.

In the list the words “lesbian, cocaine and domination” are taboo while “gay, heroin and crack” are okay.

“It’s important to note that removing queries from auto-complete is a hard problem, and not as simple as blacklisting particular terms and phrases,” Says that same spokesperson. Presumably Google will continue to refine the search terms and results the best that they can.

For those who don’t appreciate change, or are offended by the blacklisted terms, Google has provided a ‘turn off’ option in your preferences area that allows you to search the way you always have.

Google’s US Economic Impact…Exaggerated Warm-Fuzzy PR?

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Google recently released a report that indicates their total contribution to the US and individual state economies in 2009. What’s not surprising are the truly massive numbers, but what caught my attention are the “conservative assumptions” they rely on to get these numbers:

Businesses make an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 they spend on AdWords. (source) Now, Google has included the methodology behind this assumption but that sounds like a pretty bold statement to me. Are they implying that on average businesses receive a 100% ROI from AdWords?! It would seem so, as the entire report is on “Google’s US Economic Impact”. I’ve spoken with plenty of clients that have wasted hundreds or even thousands of dollars on AdWords with out a substantial return. This isn’t to say that AdWords doesn’t work, but generating a positive return from Adwords can be very challenging for the average small business owner.

Businesses receive an average of 5 clicks on their search results for every 1 click on their ads. (source) No complaints here! Many studies have shown that natural search engine results get many times more clicks than paid search results. The problem with this second “assumption” is the assumption they make afterward, stating this: “…clicks through search results may not be as commercially valuable as ad clicks, so we want to be conservative: we estimate that search clicks are about 70% as valuable as ad clicks.” Where does this estimation come from?! I’ve consistently seen comparable (if not better) conversion rates from natural search engine result clicks compared to PPC ad clicks.

Is Google just trying to create some feel-good, public relations during a time of otherwise economic downtime? I might be a little less skeptical if the report weren’t also accompanied by success stories from small business owners who have benefited from AdWords campaigns. Not to mention the video was published on YouTube on the “googlepublicpolicy” channel.

Here’s their presentation and summary of the report. You tell me…?

Google Nexus One Phone Subsidized By Ads

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

In keeping with their tradition of offering innovative technology and software for free, Google recently announced it’s plans to slash the cost of it’s popular Nexus One phone by subsidizing the monthly service with advertising. According to The Onion, Google will be using revolutionary voice-recognition software to deliver targeted ads. Here’s their coverage with full details:

Google Fiber Asheville Means Ultra High Speed

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

Google Fiber Asheville is a movement. It represents a call for change. It is the desire to be among the first to take a step into the future. Google wants to bring ultra high speed fiber optic network systems into a few selected American cities. Those of us in Asheville, NC would love to be included among those. In the midst of all this proposed progress, there are some wanting to hold it back.

The whole controversy revolves around a project sponsored by Google to build state-of-the-art fiber optic networks in various parts of the country. These systems would bring subscribers service that would provide Internet speeds up to 100X faster than broadband networks available now!

These connections would not only be lightning fast, but they would ultimately be more efficient in other ways as well. They are more stable while simultaneously offering the capability to carry television, telephone and the World Wide Web all in a single line. This would be the biggest improvement available today for Asheville’s communication infrastructure.

Asheville is a city that would be perfect for the Google project. It is a growing city with diverse commerce, a high level of education and an existing base of qualified IT professionsals. But, while most people see nothing but positive effects from the program, there are those who want to hold the program back.

There is state legislation that wants to stop cities, like Asheville from having these programs because they would be municipally owned. The supposed problem is that a city-owned system would compete with existing commercial systems and the state would therefore lose tax revenues from those companies. Never mind the fact that Asheville citizens would be have the best Internet access in the world and for free!

Gmail #vowelfail pwns Topeka Prank

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Today, the blogosphere and tweetisphere have been a-buzz about Google’s announcement to change it’s name to “Topeka”. That’s all well and good, but the Gmail team had some fun of their own and came out slightly ahead on the cleverness scale.

“As error rates escalated, the strain spread to other datacenters. We worked quickly to avoid a cascading failure of the entire alphabet by implementing a stopgap solution that limited the damage to the letters ‘a,’ ‘e,’ ‘i,’ ‘o,’ and ‘u.'”

“Having 80.8% of the alphabet available is significantly below the 99.9% full letter uptime reliability we strive for.”

“We’ll post an update as soon as things are fully resolved and, again, we’re v3ry s0rry.”

Okay…perhaps not so much to the average Googler, but any techie that enjoys a bit of good wit should enjoy. 😉

Google Analytics: Analytics Intelligence with Custom Alerts

Monday, December 21st, 2009

The first of seven new features rolled out in Google Analytics recently is known as Analytics Intelligence. Long story short, a newly automated system has been implemented that parses the data related to your Google Analytics account(s) and will report when and if anything anomalous occurs. This can be something like the bounce rate abruptly rising, traffic flow to a landing page suddenly dropping, or any other system-wide ‘red flag’ that might otherwise not be caught without the aid of a meticulous eye and some degree of effort in reviewing analytic data, and even then– Analytics Intelligence is on the job 24 hours a day. Alerts come in the form of messages sent to the controlling account’s registered email address, making worries about awareness regarding internet traffic a thing of the past.

Another wonderful aspect of Analytics Intelligence is that the end user doesn’t need to set any kind of sensitivity or threshold for normal functionality. There is an advanced algorithm at work that interprets not only daily/weekly/monthly data when determining whether an event is exceptional, but also historic and cyclical data that allows AI to better ascertain the significance of movements and changes in traffic flow. Even better is that, if an end user did so desire, they can create custom metrics that can alert them if any number of conditions take place.

Custom Alerts can be set up to notify you if, for example, you wanted to know when you’ve reached x number of visitors from a specific geographic location. Or, to know when and if the percentage of traffic from a specific advertising campaign comprises a certain amount of total visits from all sources. Information such as this allows you to more quickly determine the effectiveness of advertising in a number of media and more effectively budget your internet marketing dollars, among other insights.

Check out the wonderfully produced Google video on this feature @ Google Analytics Intelligence. In the next installment, more hands-on with new Google Analytics features!

Google Analytics: Seven New Tools

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Google has recently announced an update to their robust web analysis tool, Google Analytics, that brings with it seven new and powerful features: Analytics Intelligence (with Custom Alerts), Expanded Goals and New Engagement Goals, Expanded Mobile Reporting (for non-JavaScript enabled phone traffic and usage), Unique Visitors Metric, Multiple Custom Variables, the ability to share Advanced Segements and Custom Report Templates, and new Advanced Analysis Features (Pivoting, Secondary Dimensions, and Advanced Table Filtering).

Over the next few installments, I’ll cover what each of these new and exciting features has to offer in terms of improving search engine optimization intelligence and how it can enable improved decisionmaking that in turn prompts actionable change. Using the additional data provided by (or better identified by) the use of the new features to improve marketing throughput can result in quicker reaction to market changes and user preferences and the ability to seize opportunities that might not have otherwise been apparent. One other wonderful benefit provided by a number of the new tools is the ability to dig deeper into data already collected to discover areas for improvement in future cycles, particularly for businesses or entities that operate with great fluctuation from season to season.

Knowledge is power, as it always has been. These new additions to an already powerful tool for divining insight from the site(s) surveyed are nothing short of excitingly intriguing, and will lead to higher yields, less overhead, and more sound decisionmaking for those that can effectively take advantage of them and what they have to offer.

Parameter Handling in Google Webmaster Tools

Friday, December 11th, 2009

Many websites have multiple URL’s that display the same content, especially e-commerce sites. Often times this is simply from various URL paramerters attached to the URL. This may be to sort the products in a different order, track session ID’s, or to note the source of a referral. There have been quite a number of ways to prevent search engines from indexing all of these URL’s in an attempt to avoid duplicate content penalities. A combination of ‘nofollow’ tags in the internal site navigation and regular expression ‘disallow’ rules in the robots.txt file are common solutions. Unfortunately, this requires a thorough analysis of your internal site navigation as well as some knowlege of regular expressions and the proper logic to block only the duplicate URL’s.

Fortunately, Google has recently added a feature in Webmaster Tools that allows for an easier, simpler solution to blocking duplicate content URL’s due to numerous parameters. The ‘Parameter Handling’ feature in Google Webmaster Tools is located by going to ‘Site Configuration’ and then ‘Settings’:

Google Webmasters Parameter Handling

Google’s explanation of the parameter handling feature is as follows. *Note that there’s no guarantee that the GoogleBot will accept your suggestions. 😉

Dynamic parameters (for example, session IDs, source, or language) in your URLs can result in many different URLs all pointing to essentially the same content. For example, might point to the same content as You can specify whether you want Google to ignore up to 15 specific parameters in your URL. This can result in more efficient crawling and fewer duplicate URLs, while helping to ensure that the information you need is preserved. (Note: While Google takes suggestions into account, we don’t guarantee that we’ll follow them in every case.)”