May 4, 2014

Bing Search: Webmaster Chicken

Google Search has a well-known competitor, Microsoft Bing. Google is first, but Bing (and Yahoo, who contracts search to Bing now) has the second largest share of U.S. domestic internet search volume. Globally, Google is also first, with Baidu, Bing and Yandex in varying relative share positions depending on geographical locale.

Today’s post is about a (no longer) recent entry on one of the five* official Bing blogs.

screen shot of old version of Bing Webmaster Center

Old version of Bing Webmaster

Chickless in Seattle

The Chicken Has Landed (5 June 2013) offers guidance on how to improve search rank, website quality and traffic volume. It is applicable to e-commerce, blogs and most publicly accessible websites.

Continue reading

March 21, 2014

Google Research fan behavior

Friendly!

I found a broken link. It was important, being the contact URL on Google Research’s official Twitter account! I told them about it. Google Research wasn’t aloof! I was thrilled.

An invitation to join Google+

Google Research finally joined Google+ in August 2012.

Google Buzz chat

Inviting Google Research to Google+

I tried to coax an earlier arrival in July 2011. Click on the image if you would like to read our conversation. I remember feeling bold, and daring!

Odds and Ends

Indirect Content Privacy Surveys: Measuring Privacy Without Asking About It, Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security (SOUPS), 2011.
Abstract (an excerpt that I extracted from the abstract, that is):

The emotional aspect of privacy makes it difficult to evaluate privacy concern. This effect may be partly responsible for the dramatic privacy concern ratings coming from recent surveys, ratings that often seem to be at odds with user behavior…

This is SO true! Dramatically vocalized privacy concerns are highly inconsistent with actual user behavior! The gist of the article was to figure out a way to get at people’s privacy concerns without asking about privacy directly. Merely broaching the subject tends to cause survey respondents to get skittish, thus impacting their answers.

The article DOI, full text, is in this Google Research post.  If that doesn’t work, try the corresponding entry via Google Research’s profile on Google Buzz. The post was active from June 2011 through January 2012. Good luck finding it now. It is accessible sometimes, but not consistently. Odd, no? Maybe not so odd, as Google Buzz was discontinued a few years ago. I miss it.

Chrome browser crash

I know and love that sad little face too.

Yes, he is a sad guy. When Chrome browser crashes, I don’t feel annoyed anymore, just disappointed.

April 14, 2013

Search and tell

Hide from cache

If you don’t want web searchers to be able to access a cached version of your page, use the noarchive meta tag like this:

<meta name="robots" content="noarchive">

The page will still be crawled and indexed by Google, but users will not see a cached link in search results.

Similar to your website

The related: operator displays websites similar to the site you are looking for. It returns the same results as clicking Similar pages next to a result on the search results page.

I was curious about the results returned by Similar pages, as its intent is to return overlapping resources. Specifically, I was worried whether it indicated anything potentially detrimental, for search engine optimization purposes. According to Google, there’s no need for SEO concern, not for the moment:

The quality of the sites returned has no impact on your ranking or on how Google indexes your site.

Webmaster documentation

Another find: Google recently updated its References for Webmasters.

Fan memorabilia

 

December 29, 2012

Google Zeitgeist Snapshot

This is an especially short post, as it is a high-level summary of an even higher level summary. Of course, we all know how meaningful THAT is :~

Google Zeitgeist 2008

Nostalgia

Zeitgeist is a borrowed word, from an English language point of view. It means “signs of the times”. Yes, I realize that zeitgeist is singular, but somehow we seem to have made it plural in the process of adoption from German. Or maybe not, as it is sometimes capitalized, as a proper noun, the Zeitgeist. Perhaps it is one of those mysterious, uncountable words?

Quartz News looked a little more deeply into the annual Google Zeitgeist survey, with thankfully human, not machine, translation and analysis.

Methodology

Quartz took the top results for the 34 countries for which there was data for the Zeitgeist “How to…?” category. He then rank ordered by frequency, chose the most common result for each country, and asked around, to assure that everything was translated correctly.

Do the results accurately capture each country’s national character?

Chrome screenshot

In most instances, I think the answer is, “Yes”.

The number one “How to….?” query for The Netherlands was “How to survive”.

  Continue reading

December 16, 2012

Google translation enigma

My Tumblr friend, Mr. Sheeper, shared a page from a Japanese language website,  アンティーク アナスタシア  I am always happy to hear from him, as he has remained in Japan since the earthquake and nuclear aftermath. In English, the website name is Antiques Anastasia. The focal point is a lovely 18 kt gold slide pendant, in a style evocative of 19th century France.

Translation icon

The original webpage metadata is リュフォニー作 天の元后 レジナ・チェリ 金無垢ペンダント フランス製アンティーク or Pendant of antique gold: Celi Regina, which means “Queen of Heaven”.

This is religious jewelry. The page includes narrative as well as photographs for context. So far, so good.

Original text, prior to Google Translate, side-by-side Latin and Japanese:

Regina Caeli, laetare, Alleluia,
Quia quem Meruisti Partare, Alleluia,
Resurrexit, sicut dixit, Alleluia.
Ora pro nobis Deum, Alleluia.
天の元后よ、喜び給へ。ハレルヤ。
御身産むを許され給へる御子の、ハレルヤ、
自ら言ひ給へるごとくに蘇へり給へばなり。ハレルヤ。
我らがために神に祈り給へ。ハレルヤ。

After Google Translate, Japanese to English, side-by-side Latin and English:  Continue reading

December 1, 2012

Gmail and mobile service related news

There has been an accumulation of minor activity about Gmail recently.

Email art

Gmail Outage

On 11 December 2012, many Google accounts experienced Gmail unavailability. I did not have experience any problems in Arizona. Gmail was definitely offline for at least 45 minutes, when I checked the official Google Apps Status page.

According to GigaOm, continuous deployment was the problem, and Gmail went down during a routine load balancing update. The GigaOm article is good. It includes a two-page PDF document later released by Google, with a detailed explanation of the incident.

For future reference, I suggest bookmarking the Google Apps Status Dashboard. Despite the “Google Apps” page name, the information is relevant to consumers as well as Google Apps business customers. It lists time and cause for disruptions in Gmail and many other Google services.

Verdict of the Herd

There is an unofficial Is Gmail down? service which culls data from multiple sources. It reminds me of an informal version of Herdict, the “verdict of the herd”. Herdict collects and publicly reports on global incidents of filtering, denial of service attacks, availability, and overall internet infrastructure reliability. Input data is crowd-sourced.

Herdict reports on website inaccessibility regardless of cause. After aggregation and trend analysis, it can be useful for gauging regional blockages of websites known for activism and possibly subject to politically motivated internet censorship. “Is Gmail down” is not intended for anything beyond the convenience of the public, though that is always appreciated! It is not crowd-sourced, nor does it give a comprehensive real-­time map of global Internet health. In contrast, Herdict does exactly that. The collected information can even be broken down on a more granular level.

Herdict access service I like the Herdict badge. You can put it on your website to support Herdict activities. Just click on the sheep-shaped image to get one. The Herdict real time interactive map is fun to watch, and its RSS feed is available for free to anyone who wants to use the data. Herdict is run by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society of Harvard University.  Continue reading

May 24, 2012

Google Drive has arrived: Update

Google Drive is finally here. It offers the promise of accessing files, even large ones, from the cloud. With Google Drive, you can create new documents, spreadsheets and presentations, and share with others.

There is the suggestion of collaborative work, by two or more, on the same documents simultaneously. In reality, that is rarely feasible. Well, it is difficult to do productively. Shared access is useful and convenient for meetings and small work groups though.

google drive via Flickr

As with Google Docs, one may search by keyword, and filter by file type, owner or file size.  Over 30 file types are accessible from your browser. This includes HD video, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop—this part is key: even if you don’t have the program installed on your computer!

Availability

Google Drive may be used on a variety of computers and devices. It is accessible with PCs and Macs, and Android, now.  iPhone and iPad support is  “coming soon”.

Privacy control

There is decent granularity in file access control. One may share files or folders publicly, or with specified individuals, and choose who may view, edit or comment on content.

Google Drive crash

The first 5 GB of storage is free of charge.

The fate of Google Docs

Perhaps you are thinking,

This seems so similar to Google Docs functionality…?

I was too. Apparently that was by intent, as word has it that Google Drive will replace Google Docs for all users:

Precisely because Drive is just Docs with a new logo, Docs is being phased out. The site still works for now and will continue to work for months, but Google is pushing users away from the Docs URL and app and towards Drive.

I had noticed Docs was prompting me to try Drive recently. I suspect this was the reason. The URL will change from http://docs.gooogle.com to http://drive.google.com. The final changeover date has not been announced yet.

For enterprise

Google Apps users can opt-in for Google Drive. Security includes two-step authentication, encrypted connection to Google’s servers  and the same sharing controls as for non-enterprise users. Reliability will be reinforced with simultaneous replicated storage for documents.

Cost Comparison

How does Google Drive compare to other cloud storage services? The primary comparison of interest is between Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive and Dropbox. This is not so easy to decide, due in large part to each individual’s needs.

The most comprehensive write-up I found was an article in Norwegian language publication NRKbeta, Price war in the Cloud. It compared a wider variety of cloud services, both free versions and cost for extra space, including Amazon Cloud Drive, Box, Jotta and the rumored Facebook cloud storage. Ubuntu One is mentioned in the comments. The universal language of data storage technology, and perhaps some help from Google Translate, is all that is required to understand most of the article.

Via the rumor mill: Google tablet news

According to Digitimes, and not confirmed yet by any official company release: Google’s 7-inch tablet PC, which Google developed with Asustek Computer, will ship in June 2012. An initial quantity of 600,000 units is expected. Possibly.

March 6, 2012

Cleaning up for Honeycomb

It is year-end, December 31, 2010.

While everyone at Google enjoys the holidays, someone is still working late at night to gear up for Honeycomb.

Who could it be?


Notice the cleaning bucket that hard-working little Android is using. Yes, it is covered with those distinctive Erlenmeyer flasks that Google Labs was so fond of using.

Nostalgia

This predated the closure of Google Labs by nearly a year.

Cleaning up for Honeycomb by Evoreto UG (haftungsbeschränkt):

Our 3D Android is based on work created and shared by Google and used according to terms described in the Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution License.
This is no official ad and neither related nor endorsed by Google.

Music: Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under CC/licenses/by/3.0/.

Tags: ,
March 2, 2012

Google Maps: Foreign affairs and social skirmishes

Google Earth and Google Maps are probably the most popular, free online cartography reference tools for the public.

Google Map art

Map markers away! Fighting the cartographic unknown

Foreign affairs

Popularity is not the same as authority[1]:

The lines that Google draws on maps have no government’s imprimatur.

How an online map almost caused a violent conflict

If Google Maps show borders or place names that are different from official or long-established usage, they can confuse, offend or worse[2]:

On Nov. 3, 2010, a Nicaraguan official justified his country’s incursion into neighboring Costa Rica’s territory by claiming that, contrary to the customary borderline, he wasn’t trespassing. For proof, he [cited] Google Maps.

Google should not be involved in geopolitical disputes

Google DOES try to offer meaningful, accurate maps. Continue reading

February 24, 2012

Orkut is the ORIGINAL Google social network

Ellie K:

TechCrunch seems perturbed by Google’s decision to maintain Orkut as a distinct entity from Google Plus. I think that Google is correct. Orkut is Google’s most successful social network. It would be fair to say that Orkut is the most successful global online community, EVER. It has been in existence for nearly a decade. That is no minor achievement, in a web time frame of reference! Orkut actually grew its user base in Brazil during 2011.

Orkut user data as a chart

Google Orkut users by country 2011

Orkut remains the second most popular social network in India. I recall reading an official Google blog post last year, tallying over 65 million ACTIVE Orkut users, primarily in Brazil, India, Pakistan and Portugal. There doesn’t seem to be any reason to merge Orkut into Google Plus.

Update 21 April 2014

The future of Orkut appears less certain now, nearly two years later. The Orkut developer page, hxxps://code.google.com/intl/en-US/apis/orkut returns a generic Google HTTP error 404 page not found.

orkut 404

Orkut advertising is gone

Equally ominous: Orkut’s advertising inquiries page returns this:

I am uncertain whether Orkut is accessed over SSL, which is standard for most other Google services. Orkut policy and content guidelines are maintained in the Google help/support area (using SSL).

Orkut Terms of Service has a peculiar URL,

hxxp://g0.gstatic.com/orkut/html/en-US/additionalterms.orkut.html

considering the fact that Orkut is at orkut.com. Other Orkut pages use the same g0.gstatitc.com/orkut/* path. In contrast, most Google products and services have Google sub-domain addresses.

The extremely friendly Official Orkut blog has not been updated  since September 2012, which is not encouraging.

It isn’t over yet though! Orkut India on Twitter @OrkutIndia, sent an update on 13 March 2014.  More importantly, the primary Orkut account is reasonably active, with approximately 55,000 followers.

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Just spotted in Orkut, Google’s also-ran social networking site: a new Google+ badge, one of the first integrations between the two services. Orkut members who also have a Google+ account are now being rewarded in the form of a badge reading “Google+ user,” which they can choose to make visible on their Orkut profile. No, it’s not a big deal in terms of the feature itself (oooh, a badge), but it’s an indication of Orkut’s current status in Google’s eyes. Orkut and Google+ are different products, and both sites will continue to exist, the company tells us today by way of explanation.

“Orkut has a large user base, especially in Brazil and India, and we will continue to invest in the product,” notes a Google spokesperson. Wait really? How on earth does that fit in with your current social strategy? Sorry, Google, continuing Orkut support just…

View original 542 more words

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