Search Engine Spam On The Rise

Hardly a surprise really, considering the fact that spam never really let up. Yes folks, search engine spam is definitely on the rise and nothing seems to be curbing it.

Apparently the trend taking place this time around is that search spammers have figured out to latch onto key search terms, reflecting a lot of user popularity.

Is this something be addressed by search engines? Sure doesn’t seem like it. And if we are relying on the security firms to deal with this problem instead of the search engines exclusively, I am willing to bet we will not see an end to this anytime soon.

Delete: The Virtue Of Forgetting In The Digital Age

There should be an image here!Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age looks at the surprising phenomenon of perfect remembering in the digital age, and reveals why we must reintroduce our capacity to forget. Digital technology empowers us as never before, yet it has unforeseen consequences as well. Potentially humiliating content on Facebook is enshrined in cyberspace for future employers to see. Google remembers everything we’ve searched for and when. The digital realm remembers what is sometimes better forgotten, and this has profound implications for us all.

In Delete, Viktor Mayer-Schönberger traces the important role that forgetting has played throughout human history, from the ability to make sound decisions unencumbered by the past to the possibility of second chances. The written word made it possible for humans to remember across generations and time, yet now digital technology and global networks are overriding our natural ability to forget — the past is ever present, ready to be called up at the click of a mouse. Mayer-Schönberger examines the technology that’s facilitating the end of forgetting–digitization, cheap storage and easy retrieval, global access, and increasingly powerful software — and describes the dangers of everlasting digital memory, whether it’s outdated information taken out of context or compromising photos the Web won’t let us forget. He explains why information privacy rights and other fixes can’t help us, and proposes an ingeniously simple solution — expiration dates on information — that may.

Delete is an eye-opening book that will help us remember how to forget in the digital age.

Twitter Changes The Way It Sees Shortened URLs

Was reading this piece by Chris Pirillo today and I must say, I was not aware how much Twitter was doing with their indexing of shortened URLs.

According to Pirillo, they are actually backwards indexing shortened urls as to fine relevant keywords to your Twitter search query.

This means that if I am searching for the word Twitter, the query will find that keyword even if it is not in the text of the tweets found in the search, rather only in the content linked to by the shortened url. It’s actually a very cool feature!

Experiment With DuckDuckGo Completed

I have been trying out DuckDuckGo for some time now. Since April, anyway. And, everything considered, it has been a generally positive experience. Unlike every other Google alternative I have tried, I have found that my query results during my usage period have been fantastic.

From the beginning, I loved the open nature of the search engine and how its developer(s) genuinely seem interested in what the end user is looking for. Again, major props there.

Now for the downside. I am not a huge fan of the need to type a ! in front of functions like “news” to arrive at a page that is no longer at DuckDuckGo. Small potatoes over all, but a big enough deal that it’s worth mentioning. I would much rather have a news tab that I can click, which then syndicates from Google, Yahoo!, etc. This way I don’t have to leave the search engine to read news headlines.

That said, everything else is VERY good. If it weren’t a matter of needing Google for various SEO needs, I would likely be using DuckDuckGo exclusively at this point just to show my support for the effort. Nicely done — nicely done, indeed.

[awsbullet:howard the duck]

Google Street View Gets Local

Local businesses inside of Google Maps, is honestly the best thing for maps since sliced bread. Not entirely how great the reception is going to be in more rural areas.

But those areas that we see in more metro areas, plus the bonus of street view..the small businesses able to participate are likely going to reap some great rewards.

The linked article hits the nail on the head with the idea that Google opting to “own” local search. Should be interesting to see how far they can take it.

Paid Search Making A Comeback

Well look who’s make a comeback despite the harsh economy – paid search. Apparently the old adage that advertising in tough times has been ringing true lately. Despite the economy continuing to plunk along at a snails pace, the paid search industry has managed to do okay for itself.

As a matter of fact, the as of quarter one 2010, paid search actually saw a 11% increase over quarter one from the previous year. This is not bad in any economy, as far as I am concerned. Now this is not to say that we won’t see some fluctuation as things continue to find their new normal in the search market, but it does provide a small sense of hope if nothing else.

Looking to the paid search future, only time will tell. Today’s growth could spell tomorrow’s reality check. It’s really difficult to say for sure. I imagine we’ll see some dipping in the short term, but for those businesses that are deadly serious about attracting new customers, I see these companies continuing to push the paid search market forward despite tough economic times.

Ask.com Sees Their Share Increasing

Unbelievable, Ask.com is apparently making quite the comeback! This strikes me as odd, being there is already so much competition from the likes of Bing, Yahoo and Google. What makes Ask stand out any longer I wonder?

One can only speculate as to why we’re seeing Ask.com making this leap forward. Suppose it might have something to with people wanting to try something new. Well either that, or some other marketing efforts by Ask along the way.

In any case, good for Ask.com is making the come back. Having competition in the search engine space is good for everyone. And while it might not be seen as game changing, it’s better than nothing.

Google In-Home Indexing For Nexus One Phones

Well it’s about time. Seems that Google is taking its real world efforts to the next level. Apparently Google feels that its broadband efforts are not going far enough, thus feeling that if home users are interested in receiving Google Broadband, it would be worthwhile to have its users allow Google to “index” their homes.

I know, this sounds nuts. But if you think about it, what a convenience it would be to have a user’s home contents available online and accessible for insurance purposes! Sounds like a great idea, except for possible privacy headaches.

Should we be concerned over this Google Home Indexing trend? I think we should be, although at this point it seems to be completely voluntary. And this is a good thing. Do we really want Google in our homes like this? Well, that is something that is going to decided by each person out there. For myself and my family, Google is welcome to index my home’s contents so long as it remembers to remove its shoes and bring cookies for the dogs. It’s all I ask.

Written for April Fools Day.

[awsbullet:Pranks! (RE/Search, No. 11)]

SortFix

We’ve all been using search engines long enough that it’s easy to feel like we know everything we need to know about searching the Internet. That’s why many of us are so skeptical when new search engines come out because we feel like we’ve been there and done that. Google is the leading search engine in just about every sense of the word, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the only one that we should ever use. For example, some other search engines use Google’s results but present them in different ways. SortFix is just one of these search engines.

When you start to search for something on SortFix, it’s going to feel and even look like you’re using Google in some ways, but the differences become clear pretty quickly. For each search that you do, Power Words connected with what you’re searching for are extracted and you can easily add them to your search by dragging them over. This helps you to see how they enhance your search, and if you don’t like the modified results, you can drag them out and remove them completely. This is an interesting way to build stronger searches, so give it a try and see what you think.

Who Has The Worst TV Commercials: Google or Microsoft?

One of the extracurricular activities during the Super Bowl is to view the commercials and grade each on how good or bad they are. This past Sunday’s Super Bowl provided commercials that were good, bad, and just plain ugly. The commercials with the guys bare chested, potbellied, and in physical distress were down right disgusting.

But there was one commercial from Google that made little sense to the group of people I was sitting with. You see, most people have no idea that Bing is a search and decide vehicle while Google is for searching only.  Most people just use Google because that is what they are most familiar with. When one hears about doing a search, they may even say ‘doing a Google,’ or ‘Googling,’ which is understood by most folks.

If you missed the Google commercial, you can see it at the link below. But what is interesting is the fact that between these two money making giants, neither is making a solid point in why we consumers should use either of their products. The commercials we see don’t say anything useful.

Or it it just me that feels this way?

What do you think of the commercials Google and Microsoft are showing to us?

Comments welcome.

Google commercial

Facebook Connections – Not With Google

There should be an image here!With Google rolling out all of this emphasis on the social web, it’s rather shocking that there is no usage of Facebook connections, as it is certainly available for Google to use.

What’s also interesting is how Google is leaving the beta label on the social search, despite the fact they feel like it’s something people want to use – today, now.

Are we to believe that social media is truly where search is headed? Despite Google’s instance that there is still much to do in this arena, I believe that social search is best for trend spotting, perhaps some news discovery. But it lags behind in comparison to typical search.

Startpage Provides Users With Secret Surfing

There should be an image here!If you are concerned about your online privacy, then perhaps using Startpage is the best approach to keeping things private for you. With more concern growing for online privacy, no longer are proxies only for those looking to use them for nefarious reasons.

In today’s world, now more than ever, it seems that we are seeing folks looking for new and creative ways to prevent big brother from spying what they’re doing. At least that seems to be where Startpage is going with this.

So now for the million dollar question – should you use Startpage for it’s proxy options? I am leaning with no, simply because I think that using proxies provide a false sense of security. Best defense against losing your privacy is simply to do everything you can to protect your private information.

Baidu Loses Their CTO

There should be an image here!Strangely when Baidu lost their CTO, most people felt generally unaffected. After all, unless you are Google or happen to live in China, why would you care?

The real reason why we should be caring is that there is some kind of strange tie-in between Baidu and Google recently. As competitors, it seems like China is working to give Baidu a strange sort of advantage, as Google is not interested in playing ball with the Chinese government any longer.

Based on the reports seen all over the Web, I get the idea that Baidu is cleaning house and filling their coffers with Yes Men in place of previous employees. This would certainly flow with the way things have been going lately for search anyway.

Facebook A Threat To Google?

Definitely one of the more foolish ideas I have heard lately, this idea that the social Web is any kind of threat to traditional search engines translates into just how much of an echo chamber we have become. First step is to put down the Web 2.0 Kool-aid. Second step is to realize 99% of the world will use Google, Yahoo!, or Bing before trying to decipher the nonsense streaming through Twitter and Facebook.

Now there is no arguing that breaking news is generally found first on the social Web, then with the search engines moments later. But gaining data from verified sources is tricky unless you are careful as to who you are reading the latest news from.

At the end of the day, I think Facebook is an annoying “must have” due to what I do for a living with Twitter at least sparing me from FarmVille updates all day long. MySpace and FriendFeed are not even on my radar anymore. As for any of these being a threat or even remotely competition to Google… is like saying YouTube has more compelling content than cable TV – it’s simply not true.

[awsbullet:facebook network]

Google May Cut Its Operations In China – Good For You, Google!

On the Google blog the company has presented a serious picture of how attacks on the Google site back in December seemed to have targeted Chinese activists. Google has concluded that these human rights activists have been the target of attacks by a very sophisticated network of cyber criminals trying to access their Gmail accounts.

Google goes on to state:

These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered–combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web–have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China. We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.

I can only applaud the folks at Google for taking such a strong stance. It is unfortunate that our government can’t also put pressure on China to stop the aggressive behavior against those who oppose China and its continued human rights violations.

Maybe Google really does believe in its own motto ‘don’t be evil,’ after all.

Comments welcome.

Google Blog article