Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Gmail - Delete

Just for the record the delete button has just appeared on my Gmail account for the first time. Took a while, huh?

I'm still waiting for RSS and Google Talk to integrate.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Yahoo Buzz

I've not had much time to play around with this fully but Yahoo have re-skinned Yahoo Buzz. I was interested in the search box. I wonder if we'll see this elsewhere on Yahoo.



I can't (one my twenty second inspection) find the News Buzz. I did enjoy checking up on what other people were reading. Shame.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Google Finance to Google Flights

Money vertical searchers/aggregators like moneynet and even news-profit-through-money-search sites like the famous Motley Fool will be breathing a sigh of relief this week.

Google Finance is not a threat to them. This is not a new money aggregrator but instead more of a FT style summary of big businesses around the world. Yeah; it has the usual American bias but there is Google Finance UK too. In other words, you can't search Google Finance for a mortgage for yourself or a new credit card. Why not? This requires the user to tailor the search with some pretty specific information - the mortgage you're after, your salary, whether you're applying alone or with a partner, your partners salary, etc. These details tend to then query databases directly. This is not Google's style. Google tends not to plug into other data sources as directly preferring to take the information off web pages (one exception being the flight onebox which may be powered thusly). After all, reading web is what Google does best.

Instead we have reports for large companies. The system nearly works. If I search for BA I do not get to the British Airways (BA) summary but to Boeing's instead. Why? Boeing has the BA stock ticker. I get Boeing even if I search Google Finance on .co.uk and even though the company trades on the New York Stock Exchange rather than the London Stock Exchange. The American wing of BA trades on the NYSE with the ticker BAB and so we find the profile under BAB.

Perhaps www.google.co.uk/finance should simply redirect to www.google.com/finance. It would seem to be more appropriate.

Well done to the news sites - especially Reuters - which power so much of the content. There are some interesting links in there though. While checking out BA I could but not help notice the links to CheapFlights. CheapFlights isn't a news source, it's a very commercial and very SEO savvy flight vertical search. Is this fair? ... Actually, it seems to be simply because you can find the very same story in Google News. Whether CheapFlights should be in Google News is another matter but it gives the rest of us reason to keep trying.



Other aspects of Google Finance are very search geeky. Google blocks spider access to these pages via its main robots.txt. This means those links to the news and finance sites are not PageRank carrying. The AJAX is slightly off Google's norm insofar as that the event driven text is SEO and accessibility friendly (rather than being produced by JavaScript). Since the page is blocked to spiders the SEO benefits of the style are pointless but it's good to see Google make another stab at accessibility.

In summary - I can see why Jeremy Zawodny is disappointed that Yahoo didn't make more effort on their own Yahoo Finance. Google Finance is niche but good.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Google - slyly does it.

I'm impressed by Writely the real time and collaborative web word processor that Google has just bought. The program isn't even finished yet.

This is very much Google's style; buy the interesting start-ups. Yahoo will find the cash to buy those companies which have proven themselves to be real winners (Best Yahoo purchase? That has to be Flickr).

With Microsoft also working on an on demand Office I think we find ourselves at the start of the next big race. Those people who have been saying that Fat Server and Thin Client architecture will come back and rule the day may well be right.

It's the less wow pow upgrades from Google which I think will have the biggest impact in the short term. I'm very surprised that so little has been paid about Google Base accepting payments. This is probably because Google Base has been less than an impressive hit to date. However, if Google Purchases does manage to crack the micropayment saga then Google will have found a very real cash flow which does not depend on AdWords.

Not so impressive as the micropayments but still big news - especially to MSN's demographic targeting lure for AdCenter is Google's stealth addition of demographics to AdWords and SiteTargeting. At a glance Google's demographic information is not as impressive as MSN's but this could change. It is certainly unusual for Google to be so upfront about a collaboration and Comscore/MediaMetrix is in the limelight for being able to provide information to the Master of all Information.

What are people talking about? They're talking about Google giving some peanuts back to people (peanuts in credit) if you can prove Click Fraud. They've simply extended the window in which you have time to complain.

Friday, March 03, 2006

No mini links for Google?

I don't think anyone's come up with a good name for them yet. I call them "mini links". If that doesn't clue you on to what I'm talking about (and you'd certainly be forgiven for that) then the mass of screen grabs in today's entry will be ample illustration.

The mini links are one of the GUI experiements Google rolled out in the last quarter of 2005. They appeared at the same time as the "See results for" split (which I dislike) and the "Also see results for" (which I dislike more). Mini links are triggered on popular search terms and are selected by the algo. They're a mixture of on-page and off-page factors. Matt blogged their arrivial (describing them as better snippets).

Here's what happens when you Google for Yahoo:

Yahoo mini links

Here's another for Microsoft:

Microsoft mini links

I'm using Microsoft as an example because this triggers a Google News onebox result. Let's head off the argument that you can't have both mini links and onebox.

And finally, here's Google on Google:

Google mini links

Once you've stopped being impressed at my ability to cut graphics into the same shape... you'll see that there are no mini links for Google. None? Not even Advertising Programs or About Google.

It's tempting to speculate that Google is pushing Google Talk by ensuring it gets the second billing. Lots of punters really will click through... and Google Talk really does need that extra push.

So, are Google massaging the results here?

Alas, I'm not going to claim the scoop. I don't think so. I do think it's an algo call. There are plenty of external deep links to other Google pages for the algo to latch onto and create a mini link from but the famous home page is very clearly as much as a blank sheet as it can get away with - hence, no prompting the algo to create mini links.

That said, the same could be said of the new MSN design:

MSN mini liks


There you go.