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Archive for the 'Search Industry News' Category

Several polls, conducted recently, approve that the search engines are still regarded reliable by the internet users, yet the influence of “spammers” worries many searches.

Over 33 percent of the responders to the question: “Have Google’s Search Results Become Less Useful To You?”, said that the spammers “have gained a significant foothold”. Over 40 percent responded with the “kind of” statement, making a total of over 75% percent noticing the negative influence of “noise” on Google Search. With less than 4% stating that results got better, it seems that the spam issue needs to worry Google algorithmists.

Nevertheless, almost 90% still find Search Engines (and most use Google, of course) do either “excellent” or “good” job of finding relevant information, and about two-thirds of users rate Google results as “useful”.

With other search engines trying to close the gap between the runaway leader in the Search Industry, they might well switch their attention to inventing better search algorithms. Yet, there is no guarantee that those will produce less “noisy” results. And even if they do, and Google will lose a considerable amount of market percentage – the spammers will probably quickly adjust their techniques to alter these “new-search-algorithm” results as well…

It is widely known that Google has many local rivals in the Search Engine field. Many Russians prefer Yandex over Google, Israelis use Walla and in China there is Baidu. Most of those engines are extremely localized, providing relevant search results and successfully battling with Google in the local market – especially, since they use local language in countries with relatively low English level among computer and internet users.

Almost half-billion China-based internet users are a huge marketing potential. It seems, Chinese government has recognized it, deciding to launch a new search engine, which will be the first state-owned SE in the world. After over half a year of trial version (how do you say “beta” in Chinese?), is now fully operational and available. The idea is to implement elements of social media into the engine – such as videos, photos and comments sharing. Mobile version is expected as well.

Of course, competing with Baidu and Google is not an easy task – but with the support of the government, goso can well become a healthy search engine alternative in few years time.

The marketing has always been about customer’s psychology – learning the specific needs of a potential client and trying to satisfy them. Google has demonstrated once again that targeting certain audience is mandatory. And if you are into SEO, you should be aware of it.

According to one recently published study, Google Search results on a smartphone will vary by over 80% from those produced by a desktop computer query. If you think about it – this is actually quite logical to have a slightly different search algorithm for smartphones. For example, smartphone users like downloading various applications. Thus the mobile Google Search presents many results that include the word “app” or “download”. Brand filters and store filters cannot be applied to mobile Google search and it is even more biased towards “local” domains, with Google places usually appearing higher in the vertical results list.

With the smartphone market growing quickly, it seems as only a matter of time when “SEO for mobile” will become a separate branch in the industry.

Our world, especially the online part of it, is all about speed. That’s why Google had become so popular so quickly. The amount of search results shown and the speed at which those result have been accumulated and presented to the user did the trick.

Nowadays, of course, many search engines are almost as quick as Google, the difference in speed of producing the search results measured in milliseconds. However, what the users now want from their SE is convenience and reliability. With several questions asked about Google supposedly “biased” results, the Search Engine giant’s UI had never been an issue. That is, until now. The revised Google Image Search has a problem that can reduce the speed of entering a query.

Normally, when you type the query term in the search box and get the results, you do not use your mouse. Continue typing for “narrowing” the search, or press Shift-Backspace to erase the previous entry and start over. So far so good. However, when you use Google Image Search, the query box seems to lose the mouse focus once the pointer is moved – deliberately, or accidentally.  So, when you decide to alternate your search, you have to use the mouse (one of the worst nightmares of the speedy typer) in order to activate the query box again.

Google have reported they are aware of the problem and the “frustration” and “looking for ways” to solve it.

UK shopping market maybe smaller than the US one, but Google wants to make an impact on it as well, introducing Google Nearby Shops UK. Now, when you query for certain product via UK Google Product Search, you will have the shops selling it appearing map-style below your search, to help you locate the closest item to your location.

Of course, if you are a merchant and want to take advantage of this feature, becoming listed in those results, you need to have your shop’s URL linked to both Google Places and Google Merchant Center.

For both buyers and sellers, this combination of Google Maps and Google Products can be very useful in this Holiday season.

You might have noticed that starting mid-December, Google is labeling certain websites with “this site may be compromised” notice that appears in the search results under the website’s link. According to Google’s Matt Curtis, this is actually done to help webmasters, noting that their website is probably being hacked. The procedure of banning sites from Google search index as noting the owners via Google Webmaster tools has proved “too slow” as not many site owners check their Webmaster Tools notifications on regular basis.

As the hacked website does not usually present an immediate threat to the visitor (if malware is detected, Google Search will show the more aggressive “This site may be harmful to your computer” message), the “this site may be compromised” notice is destined mainly towards owners, who constantly monitor their website appearance in Google search, urging them to pay an immediate attention to the problem.

With Goggle introducing its new tool, the Google Books Ngram Viewer several days ago, many were enthusiastic about this being an ultimate feature to use in etymological research. After all, the Ngram Viewer allowed to search millions of books (Google books, of course) and then check, track, and analyze the appearances of any word throughout many centuries.

The users were enthusiastic at first, but it turned out that the tools is far from perfect. According to recent review, there are many problems and inaccuracies in Ngram Viewer reports – both expected and unexpected. A very basic issue is the OCR – Optical Character Recognition. Even for modern books and fonts, there are occasional mistakes that occur, best OCR programs report just below 1% percent error margin for a text of recognized words. For books from the 16th and 17th centuries, with the artistic fonts this margin is sure to be higher. One example is the letter “s” confused with “f” on numerous occasions.

Another problem observed is that for the first occurrence, as Google Books NGram Viewer does not take into account the developing of language over time, thus you have to research several forms of the world used throughout the centuries to find the actual first usage. And also, there are the reprints. Many Google books are labeled with the year of their print, instead of the year of the original manuscript, making the search produce more hits for “recent” years.

Overall, Google Books Ngram Viewer is not bad. It is just not as reliable as one could think it is. Suitable for occasional queries, it cannot be considered as reliable tool in serious academic research.

After Google had announced its intention to acquire the renowned flight data provider ITA (the offer stands, reportedly, at 700 million USD), several serious questions arouse. Wouldn’t it be too much a step towards monopoly? What are the benefits for the customers? Why, the hell, Google is buying ITA at all?

Well, the answer to the last question is pretty obvious. In recent years, Google seems to enter every niche available in the market. Long gone are the times when Google was just a search engine. Google maps, Google news, Google Sketch-up – more and more services are provided by the enterprise and some people are already asking – is Google a Search Engine or your ultimate competitor?

However, the Google ITA offer has now encountered a serious opposition itself. A group of businesses, namely the, have gathered together in order to prevent the deal. With ITA serving about two thirds of airline ticketing and satellite websites, the ultimate “danger” – according to the Fairsearch claim – is that Google will eventually start selling tickets directly, while it has a control of data flow towards potential competitors.

Google, of course, claims that the intention is purely to improve the service, making flight data offered by Google more reliable and continuing to redirect the searchers to other websites that offer flight tickets.

With the consequences of this case remain to be seen ,  one thing is clear – more and more businesses (including the giants like Microsoft and Expedia) are concerned with Google taking over.

Bing has introduced a new feature for the Bing Image Search. It is called “Instant Answer” and is, actually, a small bar of “tabs” that appears just below the search term box. Each tab suggests a more “specific” query, being especially helpful in the case of ambiguous search terms.

For example, when you type “heat”as the Bing Image search term, the “Instant Answer” will suggest narrowing your search to “Miami Heat”, “Heat Energy”, “Heat Wave” etc. The term “star” will feature “shortcut tabs” for filtering images of “Patrick Star”, “Star wars”, “Star of David” and more.

This feature resembles the infamous “related searches” suggestions for web search and is useful in saving our time, as we do not need to retype the whole query, using a simple click of the mouse instead.  “Instant Answer” is, however,  currently only available for the US Bing website.

Google has recently announced that Google Instant Mobile is now available “globally”. This means that the tool is released for all countries that have Google Mobile access (there are several dozens of those) and supports almost thirty languages.

The product, similarly to Google Instant Mobile, is integrated into search features for any Android browser (built-in for Android OS 2.2 and up) , and features various algorithms that allow faster dynamic search results.

Although this release was expected (shortly after releasing Google Instant Mobile in English, the company had announced that international support is on its way) – nobody anticipated that this would happen so quickly. The roll-out took Google slightly over one month time – an incredible figure, considering the complexity of the product. Of course, this simply means that Google had been working on globalization of Google Instant Mobile simultaneously with the product itself. That is no wonder – Google had always emphasized the importance of international marketing and global support.