Archive for the ‘Industry News’ Category

Google SERPs & the tough choices a search engine faces

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

If I told you that Google (SERPs division) had it tough, would you agree with me? You’re shaking you head – horizontally. You probably think that Google search engine results pages don’t work right because your website has never made it to the first page or made it to the first page and then was pushed out after a Panda update.

At SMX West, during an evening forum on March 11, 2013, Matt Cutts and Patrick Thomas of Google, reaffirm Google’s aim to provide *quality* results in its search engine results pages (SERPs). They discuss the difficult decisions the search engine giant has to make regarding tough content like race, porn, violence, wars,  suicides, etc.

Thomas points out that there are over 30 Trillion pages on the Internet. Naturally, the process needs to be automated. Programs are used to categorize content. Programs can’t always tell the difference between positive and negative presentation and discussion of topics.

Google does not want to push shocking or offensive content to you unless you want it (requesting it in search box). How do you determine the intent of a search?

Cutts states,

… you can’t scientifically vet everything on the Web…

The discussion moved to the “suggestions” Google provides as one is typing into the search box. Danny Sullivan (moderator from Search Engine Land) asks if there isn’t a list of negative words that can be searched for and suggests that they can just be eliminated. Cutts and Thomas bob their heads in understanding and say that it isn’t that easy, and confirm that there is a level of censorship going on in the suggestion box.

Thomas says,

We try to thread the needle really, really, really carefully…slippery slope…

Google applies some “really narrow policies” for suggestions that are sexually explicit, (some) hate speech, and stuff that can lead to violent content.

It is an interesting and candid discussion with more examples of tough choices (pics of ex girlfriends) and questions and suggestions from the audience. Thanks to Danny Sullivan (circle +SearchEngineLand) moderator, Matt Cutts (Google – circle +Matt Cutts) and Patrick Thomas (Google).

Watch the exchange…

Steve Vinter from Google presented at Distinguished Speakers Breakfast

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

The Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce held its Distinguished Speakers Breakfast this morning. Presenter was Steve Vinter, Director at Google.

Mr. Vinter is a relaxed presenter with a sense of humor. He kept the crowd’s attention using his humor and switching topics fairly frequently. He spoke about AdWords, Analytics, Google+, Speed, Ripples, Android, the Google Body Project, Non-Profits, Page Speed, Sharing, and more.

He demonstrated

  • How he used a form in a Google Docs spreadsheet to get votes from a group of employees about where to have a celebration.
  • How to find ‘gas stations’ within X miles radius of a location on Google Maps.
  • How website developers like myself can improve page delivery speed using Google’s Page Speed tool to measure speed and suggest improvements

I learned new things about Google and some of its products.

The highlight for me was when Mr. Vinter demonstrated the use of Page Speed. He first tested CNN.com and the tool gave that website a rating of 81%. Then he tested the Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce‘s website and that received a rating of 89%. Higher than CNN – and by 8%! That made my day, since CNN has so many more employees… and here I am, plugging away, able to get one of my clients such a fabulous rating! Very gratifying and a good way to start the day!

There were “oohs” and “ahhs” in the audience. Many people know that I maintain the Chamber’s website. I, of course, was more than happy to stand and take a bow. It was a moment to remember.

Steve Vinter Google at Marlborough Regional Chamber

Friday, March 23rd, 2012
Steve Vinter Google

I’m looking forward to an update on Google from Google Engineering Director Steve Vinter who will be speaking at the Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce‘s Distinguished Speakers Breakfast meeting next week.

There have been lots of changes in the Google tools that I use, now, there are new tools and re-definitions. I hope to learn a couple of not-so-well-known nuggets that will give my clients a leg up on getting found on the Internet.

Twitter Saving Your SmartPhone Info

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

CNET reports that Twitter has admitted to saving more than your tweets when you use their app on your smartphone. Twitter is uploading your contact data and browser history and saving it on their servers for 18 months.  For what reason???

A spokesperson for Twitter says that in the next release(s) of the phone app(s), they will be more explicit about what Twitter does and does not do.

Learn more from the CNET video (1:30):  Twitter wants your contacts, smartphone data

FLASH Website Owners Beware

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

It seems that the retirement of Adobe’s Flash® is coming sooner than later. This week, a business colleague sent me a link to an article on CNN.com (Adobe abandons mobile Flash development, report says) which reported that Adobe is abondoning its attempts to get Flash® to work on mobile devices. In addition, it says that Adobe sent an email to its partners…

“And with that e-mail flash, Adobe has signaled that it knows, as Steve Jobs predicted, the end of the Flash era on the web is coming soon.”  [bold added by me]

Adobe Flash web page 11-13-11

Portion of home page at the Adobe Flash website 11-13-2011

The article goes on to say that Adobe will focus “on alternative application packaging programs and the HTML5 protocol. ”

“Flash became a dominant desktop platform by allowing developers to code interactive games, create animated advertisements and deliver video to any browser that had the plugin installed, without having to take into account the particulars of any given browser. However, with the development of Javascript, CSS, and HTML5, which has native support for video, many web developers are turning away from Flash, which can be a resource hog even on the most advanced browsers.”

And if your website is Flash-based?  What do you need to do?
You need to convert your website using other web-development tools that will give you a similar look-n-feel. Converting your website means having your website re-developed by a web developer familiar with the latest versions of web-development software tools like CSS, JavaScript, PHP, and HTML. Each of these tools now has video capabilities that when combined, create powerful videos for your website.

If you want your website to be seen on mobile devices, you will convert your website sooner than later. If that is not a priority, you can plan ahead and have your website converted over the next year or two. Either way, your website needs to be re-developed. [Which is a good reason to call us 508-480-8833… Shameless plug..but hey!]

Caution: HTML5 is a radical upgrade from previous versions of HTML. The HTML5 protocol is very new and you should ask your web developer about their experience with HTML5. Even if you don’t understand everything they say, look at their body language to determine for yourself their level of comfort with HTML5.