Webometric Thoughts

August 12, 2008

London 2012 v. Olympics 2012

Filed under: london 2012,olympics — admin @ 3:55 pm

Another story from Hitwise that got me thinking was their post on search terms to do with the Olympics. However, being British, I am more interested in how the Beijing Olympics are effecting interest in the London Olympics (i.e., the important Olympics). Therefore I had a look at what Google’s Insights for Search could show (nb. Google’s Insights for Search does not contravene my current Google Search cold turkey).

red line – olympics 2012
blue line – london 2012

Whilst there has been an understandable rise in interest in the 2012 Olympics, it would seem as though the world isn’t associating it with London as much. Whilst ‘london’ was popular when the city was first awarded the Olympics (‘F’ on the graph), and when they launched their unpopular logo (‘C’ on the graph), it has seemingly failed in catching the current wave of Olympic fever. In 2008, only the UK and Ireland are searching for ‘london 2012′ more than ‘olympics 2012′. Time for a brand push Mr Coe?

Giving up Google

Filed under: Google — admin @ 3:05 pm

Whilst the Olympics has been drawing my attention away from the world of technology, one Hitwise finding did catch my attention: Google’s share of US search hits 70%.

Whilst I have often lamented at the state of the search engine market, specifically the Google monopoly, like most other users I have made no effort to change my behaviour. However, as the Google machine marches forward, and another landmark is passed, we realise that unless we do start changing our behaviour we could end up in a world where Google is the only search engine. Or even the only powerful online presence.

Google has spread throughout my online activities, far beyond the initial search:
-I blog with Blogger.
-I track my web site’s use with Google Analytics.
-My blog contains AdSense Ads.
-I keep notes in Google Docs.
-I find articles with Google Scholar.

As there is only so long I can comfort myself with the fact I managed to resist using Google’s RSS reader (nb. Newsgator is brilliant), I have decided to stop using the Google Search Engine. Giving up Google Search requires the least initial effort, although will probably require greater effort in total; I often find myself typing ‘www.google.com’ without even thinking. The only way will be to give up Google Search ‘cold turkey’.

Most of us use Google Search out of habit these days, rather than there being any real difference in the quality of the results; the competitive advantage of PageRank has long since been caught up. Hopefully new search engines will give me a whole new perspective on the web.

August 7, 2008

YooWalk: Another Virtual World

Filed under: Google Lively,YooWalk — admin @ 10:32 am

Mashable have posted about another virtual world this morning, YooWalk, a browser-based virtual world for browsing the web.

It is more appropriate to compare YooWalk with Google’s Lively than Second Life. Both have limited freedom in terms of what can be created, although the embeddding and linking to content makes YooWalk much more than another Lively chatroom.

Important key differences between YooWalk and Lively are:
-YooWalk users can embed their own pictures and videos.
-YooWalk does not require a plugin (it works on my Linux Eee 701 as well as my Windows desktop).

At the moment the site is still very much in Beta mode. Designing your room is a bit clunky, and when my activation email went MIA there seemed to be no recourse other than using a different email account. Nonetheless, a welcome addition to the burgeoning web based virtual worlds.

August 6, 2008

Google Insights for Search: What next?

Filed under: Barack Obama,Google,Insights for Search,webometrics — admin @ 1:17 pm

In addition to Google Trends, Google are now offering Google Insights for Search (http://google.com/insights/search/#)(via TechCrunch). Not only can you filter the terms by category, for example helping to distinguish between Apple (Computers & Electronics) and apple (Food & Drink), but it will also give a nice visual representation of the geographic data.

We can now quickly see that the Iran is the country most interested in webometrics:

The maps also offer a whole new type of vanity searching. The “David Stuart” brand has yet to make major inroads in Africa, Asia or South America. I was grateful, however, to find that my own vanity searches had not overly effected the results (at a city level London is the hub rather than Wolverhampton).

Some bloke called Barack Obama, on the other hand, seems to have made inroads all over, with the exception of the Middle East.

The obvious question, based on the directory structure of the Insights for Search URL (http://google.com/insights/search/#), is what other insight services are Google going to offer? Insights for Maps? Insights for Shopping? Insights for News?

Webometricians are NOT Web Celebrities!!

Filed under: Celebrity Meter,Wired,webometrics — admin @ 9:45 am

When it comes to being a web celebrity, it is not surprising to find that webometricians are near the bottom of the pile; a fact I blame on our spending too much time counting other people’s links rather than creating content worth linking to. Anyway, Wired have created a nifty little application (highlighted by Media Futurist) that can help you determine your ‘web celebrity’ score by using data from Google’s Social Graph.

At the moment it only bases your score on MySpace, Twitter, and your blog/web site, so your score depends a lot on how much you use these sites; my thousands of Facebook friends and hundreds of delcious bookmark followers mean nothing. Nonetheless, true to Webometric Thoughts fashion, a comparison of the three main webometrics blogs/bloggers(only using their twitter and blog addresses):

Holmberg’s Oh what a tangled web we weave… :
2 (twitter) + 4 (blog) = 6
Thelwall’s Webometrics Blog :
10 (twitter) + 15 (blog) = 25
My Webometric Thoughts:
6 (twitter) + 7 (blog) = 13

To give these numbers a bit of perspective, Barack Obama’s current ranking is 9,069 (4,509 without MySpace). Thelwall may have won this battle, but we are all losing the war. It would be interesting to see, however, how the Celebrity Meter compares with a qualitative evaluation of web celebrity, such asForbes’ list of the top 25 web celebrities.

Whilst ‘web celebrity’ is just a bit of fun, it does show the potential of the Google Social Graph data, and as far as I am aware no webometrician has used it to any practical purpose yet.

August 4, 2008

Six Degrees of Seperation: Prince William to Osama Bin Laden

Filed under: 6 degrees,small world — admin @ 8:11 am

As all the news sources are reporting Microsoft’s exploration of Milgram’s theory that we are on average only 6 degrees away from anyone else in the world (BBC, Guardian), it seems a good time to share my personal favourite six degrees of seperation (which is far better than the Daily Mail’s examples): Prince William to Osama Bin Laden going through my own student house in Loughborough.

Whilst from the outside it may have looked like just another student terrace house, visitors included a classmate of Prince William’s at St. Andrews University and a Finnish girl (or was she Swedish??) who was the nanny to one of Osama Bin Laden’s brothers.

Microsoft found that 78% of messenger users could be connected in seven links or fewer. To me this suggests that six degrees is on the high side; most people have many more acquaintances than they message.

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