Archive for December 9th, 2010

December 9, 2010

Source Meta Tags to Identify Original Publisher Content

In December 2009, the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog responded to publisher concerns about page rank penalties imposed by Google’s search algorithm due to legitimate cross-domain content duplication. Most websites would rarely (if ever) have valid reasons for displaying identical content on multiple and distinctly different domains.

Journalists of the past

Journalists in Radio-Canada newsroom, via Wikipedia

However, it is a common occurrence for news media sites with multiple syndication channels to legitimately publish duplicate cross-domain content.

Source Meta Tags

Google announced an extra feature for news publishers, to differentiate between the first version of a “breaking story” versus the re-distribution by others that follows. Such redistribution is legitimate, but publishers wanted to make sure that there was a way to give credit where credit was due to the most enterprising journalist for a given news story. Google responded with this suggestion:

News publishers and readers both benefit when journalists get proper credit for their work. That can be difficult, with news spreading so quickly and many websites syndicating articles to others. That’s why we’re experimenting with two new meta tags for Google News: syndication-source and original-source. Each of these meta tags addresses a different scenario, but for both the aim is to allow publishers to take credit for their work and give credit to other journalists.

original versus duplicate

Original versus Duplicate Website Content

Further details about Google’s introduction of “source” meta tags to help find original news was covered in the Google News Blog, and an even more in-depth description can be found in this excellent Search Engine Land article about meta tags including discussion of a recent algorithm patent granted to Google.

UPDATE

There is good reason for Google’s decision to implement these meta tags on a trial basis. Best practice, for both bloggers and publishers alike, requires attribution if using another source’s original work. Most reputable online content producers have credited their source with a link until now. However, there is some concern that they could stop doing that, and instead, merely use the meta tag. That would be a much worse outcome for the original writer, in terms of receiving much-deserved credit for their work.

The meta tags are useful to Google, as they give input to the page rank algorithm (which seeks to reward providers of original content). Yet I do believe that this is a good-faith effort by Google. It would be unfortunate if these new meta tags have the opposite effect from what Google intended.

December 9, 2010

Transition to server-side moves forward with Google Cloud Print

print from the clouds with Chrome OS

Google Cloud Print logo

Google has been extremely busy recently. Maybe a more accurate statement would be that they’ve been extremely prolific. Google introduced the Chrome Operating System Netbook, also known as the Cr-48, to select users. It shipped yesterday. That was probably the highest profile event.

But Google also quietly unveiled a new cloud print feature, now available in public beta.

Google Cloud Print

The landing page for instructions to connect a printer  to Google Cloud Print describes the product with a nicely stylized flow image (see below). Here is the official product description:

By connecting your printer with the Google Cloud you will be able to print to your printer from any computer or smart phone, regardless of where you are. Just activate the Google Cloud Print connector in Google Chrome and your printer will automatically be available to you from Google Cloud Print enabled web and mobile apps.

This page includes a button to install Google Chrome browser, stating that it is for Windows 7, Vista and XP. It probably refers only to the Chrome browser, not to the Cloud Print functionality. I came to this conclusion after reading a Cloud Print help page, “Where can I print from?”

We’re working hard to provide Google Cloud Print integration with many Google products and services, the first of which will be Chrome OS….

Flowchart for using Cloud Print

Flowchart for connecting a printer to Google Cloud Print

Still a beta product

I looked for more information in the footer of the Google Cloud Print Help page. I found and clicked on this Google Cloud Print link. I presumed this would be an “About” page, or maybe a post from the Google New Products site on Blogger. Instead I was surprised get a return of the same URL in the header,

http://www.google.com/cloudprint/intl/en

and the following text:

Missing X-CloudPrint-Proxy header.

Error 400

It appears that Cloud Print isn’t quite ready yet for everyone. For now, it is ONLY available for users running Google Chrome Operating System.