Webometric Thoughts

July 24, 2008

Do you have the Knol?

Filed under: Google,Knol,Wikipedia — admin @ 10:07 am

Finally Google’s Knol is launched (after months of waiting). It’s basically all about putting the author back into the publishing process, something that has been lost in the Wiki-verse.

You can never tell how these things are going to pan out until the uneducated marauding masses get involved and try to make some money out of it, so it is far too early to tell whether Knol is going to be a serious content provider or not. However, I am sure it won’t be long before academics are comparing Wikipedia and Knol pages. In fact as I type this someone out there is probably comparing two pages and hoping to make a bit of a media splash. Unfortunately I will have to wait for Knol’s ‘Webometrics’ page to appear before I can make a comparison with any sort of authority.

One last point. As Danny Sullivan emphasises, this time Google’s product is known as ‘Knol’ not ‘Google’s Knol’. Is this an attempt to hide the Google brand as we begin to suffer Google fatigue?

May 26, 2008

Microsoft concedes more ground to Google

Filed under: Google,live search,live search academic,live search books — admin @ 11:24 am

Microsoft announced on Friday that they are ending their Live Search Books and their Live Search Academic projects. Whilst you can’t blame them, you can’t help but feel slightly disappointed at the increasing dominance of Google on the web. If Microsoft can’t give Google a run for their money, who can?

The first comment in response to Microsoft’s blog announcement pretty much explains why Live Search Books and Live Search Academic are closing down “…this is first time i hear about book search…”. After the initial buzz around the launch of the services, they quickly dropped into the background with few people using them. It wasn’t just about monetizing the service, it was about getting people to use them. Personally I found them very un-user-friendly, and at one stage I seem to remember having to access Live Search Academic with Firefox as is it wasn’t compatible with the latest version of Microsoft’s own Internet Explorer. Whilst there have been numerous academic papers investigating Google Scholar, I can’t recollect one investigating Live Search Academic. Most people just didn’t like the services.

However, whilst I can’t mourn the passing of the poor Live Search Books and Live Search Academic, I can’t help but worry about the unstoppable Google behemoth. One of the first questions I ask of any new innovative service is: “Can this break Google’s domination?”. Unfortunately, all too often, the answer is no.

April 24, 2008

Google Me: The Movie

Filed under: Google,YouTube — admin @ 8:05 am

As well as the arrival of my Wii Fit (hopefully), tomorrow will also see the launch of Google Me: The Movie on YouTube. Jim Killeen Google’s his own name, then travels the world meeting other Jim Killeens…sound familiar? Obviously Killeen is a massive Dave Gorman fan, mixing up Gorman’s Googlewhack adventures and Are you Dave Gorman? into one YouTube film.

What is of interest is that the film will be shown for free on YouTube (‘for a limited time only’). Which, if Andrew Keen’s figures are anything to go by, is unlikely to make Killeen a fortune. It will however provide a documentary that doesn’t seem to be particularly original a lot more publicity than it would otherwise have got.

Maybe we will see more films publicising themselves like this in the future: show for a couple of days for free, then let word of mouth drive traffic to the cinemas/DVDs. How much does a Hollywood blockbuster spend on publicity? How much would they lose by making it available on YouTube for a day or two? Obviously Killeen has nothing to lose in comparison to the millions a big studio would be risking, but it would be interesting to see one give it a try.

So, will I take a break from sculpting my body on the Wii fit to watch Google Me The Movie? Possibly, but it will have to be better than the rather annoying web site that goes with it.

April 22, 2008

The Google Monopoly

Filed under: Google,Monopoly — admin @ 9:28 am

Every day I seem to come across some story that reminds me how much I hate the Google monopoly. Today that story was at Search Engine Roundtable: Google advice on linking out from your web site.

The original advice was provided in a Google Groups thread, where someone was concerned about linking to their own sites in case it incurred the wrath of google:

I understand that GOOGLE does not like the exchange of links solely for the purpose of increasing page rank. Can it accurately determine which sites are abusing their guidelines? I have a number of websites that deal with similar products and services and I am reluctant to exchange links because these sites might run the risk of being penalised. I know that I can include rel=”nofollow” to overcome this problem but am I being over cautious?

The advice provided was not particularly offensive or restrictive, but what bothers me is that so many people have to be concerned about what one search engine thinks. If Google started penalising links to affiliated web sites, people would take down those links; if Google promoted sites that were covered in leprechauns, people would cover their sites in leprechauns. In a healthy search engine marketplace we would not have the need to be overly concerned about the criteria of any single search engine.

Personally, about 80-90% of my traffic comes from Google. Luckily, as my income is not derived from my web activities and I don’t need to be overly concerned about Google’s ranking and happily link to my allotment blog which has absolutely nothing to do with the world of technology (except for the fact that it is a blog).

April 19, 2008

Everybody is Google Crazy!

Filed under: Google,share price — admin @ 11:40 am

It would seem as though nobody knows what Google is worth, how else do you explain a 20% increase in their share price in one day? This is not a time for naysayers to eat their words (as Mashable would have us believe), but rather for us to enjoy the spectacle of the total market confusion!

Over the last few months Google’s share price has reached the dizzying heights of $747.24, and fallen as low as $412.11. Is there anything left in the market? Probably, but it is not the sort of company you will want to place your life savings in. Volatile share price? Probably haven’t seen anything yet.

April 18, 2008

Google is biased towards geeks?

Filed under: Google,John Battelle,PageRank — admin @ 9:45 am

We are all aware that Google are constantly tweaking their ranking algorithm, and we all Google ourselves occasionally to see where we are coming. Today John Battelle reports that he is top ‘John’ on Google, proof if it were ever needed that Google is far from perfect. Whilst the introduction of PageRank revolutionised the search industry, John Battelle’s rise up the search ranking shows what happens if we confuse those who publish on the web and those who search the web.

Personally, with a rather popular (or is that common??) name, I am just pleased to find Webometric Thoughts makes it on the front page for ‘David Stuart’, currently number six, but occasionally falling onto the third or fourth page of results.

March 27, 2008

My Google Shame

Filed under: Google,Google Adsense,Google Analytics,Google Scholar — admin @ 9:24 am

A four point manifesto was published on Read Write Web yesterday about how to avoid a Google media monoculture. The manifesto is aimed squarely at the advertising side of the Google behemoth. In truth we are in need of a far wider ranging manifesto, even those who dislike the extent of Google’s power find it creeping into their lives.

My own (daily) Google shame includes:
-Google Search Engine (approximately 50% of my searches)
-Google Analytics
-Google Ads
-Google Scholar

Google infects my online life due to a combination of habit, ease, and lack of alternatives. Whilst I can try to wean myself off of search, I have no idea how easy it would be to change the blogging software (without losing everything), whilst once you have started one analytics program you are loathed to change to another which calculates the numbers differently. At least I can hold my head up when emailing (Hotmail), reading my RSS feeds (Newsgator), reading the news (BBC), or doing a bit of social networking (anything but Orkut).

Regarding the 4-point manifesto, in addition to wishing for a wider ranging manifesto there is one point I do disagree with: a push towards cost per action (CPA). Whilst I understand that steps are necessary in preventing people clicking on their own links purely for the ad-revenue, CPA would tip the balance too far in the advertisers favour. Why should I have ads on my site that earn nothing because the advertisers product isn’t wanted on closer inspection? It also doesn’t bear thinking about how long I would have to wait for someone to not only click on one of the ads, but to actually do something on the advertiser’s site. After almost three weeks of Google ads, and 1,438 page impressions, I have only had 2 ads clicked on!

March 21, 2008

Giga-blast from the past

Filed under: API,Gigablast,Google,search engine — admin @ 9:32 am

It is all too easy to forget about some of the alternative search engines out there, and I must admit that I can’t remember the last time I used Gigablast. It was therefore good to read on ResearchBuzz that Gigablast are now offering site search, which I have now added to the right-hand frame of my blog (too often people overlook the blog search in the blogger toolbar/banner).

Gigablast seems to have had a bit of make-over since I last visited (when it looked something like THIS), and now it even has a very limited API. Personally I would like to see the API extended and a few advanced operators, surely that’s an easy way of getting a competitive advantage over the other search engines.

Personally I hate the growth of Google search, and love any opportunity to support other search engines.

March 11, 2008

Google shares about to fall below $400

Filed under: Google,share price — admin @ 8:19 am

The Google share price is now the lowest it has been since October 2006, with some analysts predicting that it has another 20% to go! In the same way no-one knew how quickly the price would rise, no-one has a clue about how far it would fall. Even my own, rather negative, opinion now seems extremely optimistic.Today is likely to see the price fall below $400, and all this before the impact of a Microsoft buyout of Yahoo and a downturn in the US economy has yet to hit.

Whilst I find it hard to believe the price will fall much lower than $300 nothing would shock me now, I am just pleased that Google is losing a bit of its shine and look forward to their having a rocky ride in the future.

February 29, 2008

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