Google Blogoscoped

Monday, November 6, 2006

Upcoming Google Talk/ Orkut Integration?

Gee... Ionut squeezed the latest Google Talk binaries for information, and found lots of bits hinting at an upcoming integration with Orkut. It looks like Google is far from giving up on its social network site... and goes the way of more cross-integration where it makes sense (mixing the place where you chat with friends with the place where you list them).

Google Tweaks Landing Page Evaluation

One of the goals listed in Google’s internal company papers, as recently reported here, was to “reduce bad landing page impressions by 20%” (a landing page being that thing you end up on when you click on a Google ad). In tune with this goal, the official AdWords blog now announced Google will be making a change to how they evaluate landing pages “using the same evaluation process as [they] do for search” – and that they’ll incorporate this evaluation back into the quality score assigned to each ad, which in turn has the power to determine if (or where) the ad will be shown on SERPs/ AdSense-enabled web pages.

The Google Blogoscoped Forum

Recently I was surprised to hear someone tell me, “I didn’t even know about your forums and I’m a daily reader.” So maybe a little explanation is due: this site is half blog, half discussion board for search news. You can join the ongoing talks in the forum, or use it as your little “link blog” when you have a search news bit (or anything else with a focus on Google and the web tech world, including questions) by hitting “start thread.” There’s a two-way relationship between the blog and the forum; many blog posts are based on forum entries, and in reverse, new comments posted to blog entries enter the forum as their own thread*.

*In my opinion, this mixed forum/ blog style comes with a couple of advantages (news break much faster, there’s a lot of worthwhile discussion which isn’t connected to any specific blog post, you immediately see when someone posted a new reply to an old blog post) as well as disadvantages (it can be confusing to understand just what happens for newcomers – usability is about doing what you expect, not necessarily doing something unique, and this blog/ forum interplay is a bit unique! – and I still need to find a perfect way to merge things when a blog post follows-up on a forum post). But all in all I really like the mix, which truly came to be step by step over the course of the last years... in part due to technical limitations of using the Blogger platform, of which I since moved away.

[Thanks to everyone who participates in the forum, and special thanks to all those who help administrate it: Corsin Camichel, Ionut Alex. Chitu, Peter Dawson, NateDawg, Tony Ruscoe and Sam Davyson!]

Slow Google Gadgets Search

Searching the Google Gadgets Awards for test, I have to wait 7.67 seconds. That’s roughly 2 months in Google years.

The discussion started in the forum.

[Thanks David Bloom!]

Doodle 4 Google Winning Logo
By Tony Ruscoe

The Google UK home page is now showing the winning Doodle 4 Google logo created by 13 year old Katherine Chisnall from the South West of England:

The “Five Wonders of Britain” logo – which was also my favourite – shows several British landmarks, including the Millennium Sculpture, London Eye, Blackpool Tower, Edinburgh Castle and the Severn Bridge.

When voting opened for the competition in early October, it was stated that the winning doodles would be announced on Tuesday 7th November 2006. With the winners now being revealed a day early, this will probably make things seem even worse for all the Google Wordmasters Challenge entrants who are still waiting for their results...

Wikipedia Locks Kazakhstan Article

Due to recent vandalism in connection with the Borat movie, Wikipedians protected the entry for Kazakhstan from editing by new or unregistered users – falsehoods put forth in the satirical Borat movie made it into the article en masse, German Spiegel reports. Borat is still mentioned in a couple of sentences within the entry, though he’s featured in much larger detail in Wikipedia’s entries on Borat, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, and Sacha Baron Cohen.

Gifts on Google Maps

Drop Spots is a simple but cool social game; people hide little gifts in public (yet semi-hidden) places, share the location via Google Maps, and then a lucky finder can grab the gift – and is encouraged to hide their own surprise with Drop Spots. [Via Spreeblick.]

Also see the somewhat similar concepts Book Crossing and Geocaching.

Google Newspaper Ads

BusinessWeek today writes:

Google ... is rolling out its most ambitious print advertising initiative yet, an online marketplace that will let advertisers place bids on space in more than 50 major newspapers across the U.S.

The search giant will launch an alpha test of Google Print Ads this week.

Also see the previous Google print ads for magazines.

[Thanks Brinke and!]


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