Google Blogoscoped

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Google Toolbar 2.0 Beta

For early adopters, the Google Toolbar is now available in version 2 (Beta). Additions to the current toolbar:

Popup Blocker: Make surfing the web easier by stopping annoying popups.
AutoFill: Automatically fill in a form with the click of a button.
BlogThis: Create a weblog post pointing to the page you are visiting.” Speculates on Google’s Halo is going into great detail on the latest Google movements in The Google backlash* (by Farhad Manjoo, June 25, 2003) — especially considering it’s more of a mainstream news source. The balanced article covers GoogleGuy over at WebMasterWorld, googledancing Dominic, Cassandra and Esmeralda, blogwashing and the Google blog weight issue, the SearchKing law-suit, AdWords, the Microsoft Crawler, confused SEOs, and ranking shifts.

Image © Used with permission.

“To be sure, millions of people still love Google. When they step up to a Google query box, Web users are expecting one thing from the search engine — to be quickly directed to the one page that can solve some momentary, pressing mystery. Google provides such pages with remarkable consistency, and that accounts for its success — but it also points to a vulnerability. Google is so good that it’s now seen, in some ways, as an arbiter of truth, a kingmaker. What Google says about a particular subject, from “Iraq war” to “bookstore,” can have real political or economic import. That’s why so many people fight over Google’s results, and why, as the company grows, concerns about its influence will only get louder. (...)

For good reason, Google doesn’t talk about its ranking algorithms; if folks knew what Google was doing, the search engine would be easy to trick. But in the absence of information from the company, rumors, theories and groundless speculation run free. On the Web, Google has taken on the aura of a god — enigmatic, arbitrary, worthy of our fear and our love. Everyone’s watching it for signs of anger and of embrace; we know that whatever it does will affect us profoundly, and so people watch it, and they worry.”

Feedback? Feedforward!

These days, so many people have their own means of publishing discussion pieces on something, that all you need to do to find your feedback* is to use search engines — depending on the type of your site, this can replace the need for a guestbook or comments function. (Comments often fall prey to PageRank spammers. And in fact, some already proclaimed traditional comments to be dead.)
While no single search covers all, using different search engines will give you a good picture of what is being said in the online world. Here are the most important methods I use to aquire feedback on this blog, mostly from the blogosophere itself:

What you are finding with these tools are what calls “Remote Comments” (see What Is TrackBack?).
Since one expects others to know about these tools* as well, one can even participate in a discussion without ever directly pushing information to the other; that’s what “blogologue” is all about.

*Defined as “The process by which a system, often biological or ecological, is modulated, controlled, or changed by the product, output, or response it produces.”

**If you know of any more tools than the ones listed here, just let me know. If you feel like it, use your own blog to send the feedback.


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