Archive for March, 2011

March 16, 2011

Optimal advertising placement

Advertising Heatmap

Optimal advertising placement by Google AdSense

Certain locations tend to be more successful than others. This “heat map” illustrates the ideal placing on a sample page layout.

The colors fade from dark orange (strongest performance) to light yellow (weakest performance).

All other things being equal, ads located above the fold tend to perform better than those below the fold. Ads placed near rich content and navigational aids usually do well because users are focused on those areas of a page.

via Google AdSense Support

March 13, 2011

Mailhide

If you’ve ever looked at an open-source development project hosted by Google servers, usually on  http://code.google.com sites, Mailhide will be familiar. It is a less well-known application of the reCAPTCHA detection challenge.

reCAPTCHA now owned by Google

reCAPTCHA Turing test

Mailhide conceals part of an email address

This is how it prevents spammers from accessing email addresses using automated programs. Typically, the first few letters, or numbers, of the username part of the email is visible, followed by an ellipsis i.e. three dots, and then the domain name.

Most Google employees* use Mailhide. Mailhide is offered as an option to developers using Google Code sites.

Mailhide type functionality is also offered by Slashdot for user accounts. Slashdot is not necessarily using Google reCAPTCHA for encryption, however. There are other Turing tests besides reCAPTCHA.

reCAPTCHA is a Google product. It was not developed by Google, though. Google purchased the reCAPTCHA algorithm from Carnegie-Mellon University a few years ago, in 2008.

reCAPTCHA Mailhide API

Are you running a web application that lists users’ email addresses? Do your users a favor by shielding them from spam with reCAPTCHA Mailhide.

Google will give you an API (cryptographic) key. Use it to encrypt user email addresses. Google supplies full documentation for the Mailhide protocol. Everything is free of charge.

I am uncertain whether API restrictions on usage apply. That is a familiar restriction for applications developers relying on the Twitter API. It should not be a binding constraint in this case, as Mailhide is far less transactional that Twitter. Unless one is very, very popular!

reCAPTCHA comes in many flavors!

Libraries are available for PHP, Perl, Ruby and Python programs.

*Google employee accounts in the U.S.A., and many but not all other countries, have the format  userid@google.com.  Non-employee Google mail accounts are  userid@gmail.com.

 

March 12, 2011

How To Use Google To Search

Which search to use?

Google search

Which search to use?

Sounds obvious doesn’t it? It isn’t. As a start, consider these three search options of which I wasn’t aware.

Then there is the basic bread-and-butter of searches. I found the choice of search topic quite ironic.

How to use Google 2.0 universal search, the 2008 edition

universal search

Google 2.0 Universal Search

This detailed guide maintained by Google describing the meaning of each item returned on search results pages is a good resource.

Then there are the infrequently used special search commands. I wrote a detailed post on these Google special searches a few weeks ago.

See too the Google resource page of help documents to learn how to search.

Inspired by How To Use Google To Search.

March 12, 2011

Google Books Error Page

Google Books.

Google Books error message

Tags: ,
March 12, 2011

War on Content Farms Now in Progress

Farmer's market, Jul 2009 - 01

Content fresh from the farm

Google Declares War on Content Farms:

Google has announced a major algorithmic change to its search engine. Impact on users will be subtle while dramatically improving the quality of Google’s search results…

Google is targeting content farms.

This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites — sites which copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful…. It will provide better rankings for sites with original content, such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.

The change should make it easier to find high quality sites.

Google did not give details of the change, which should impact 11.8% of Google’s queries (currently only in the U.S., with plans to roll it out elsewhere over time), but it does say that it will affect the ranking of many sites on the web.

The list of related articles I have hand selected (just like I dredge through string beans in order to find the very best ones) may be of further interest to those with a sense of humor. Or without a personal stake in content farming.

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