Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Gavin O'Malley, April 25, 2012, 11:53 AM
Google Debuts New AlgorithmSearch Engine Land

Always trying to get a leg up on spammers and ranking cheats, Google is releasing a new search algorithm, which is says will impact about 3% of search queries.

“In the next few days, we’re launching an important algorithm change targeted at Webspam,” the search giant explained in a blog post. “The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s quality guidelines.”

“What’s ‘Webspam,’ as Google calls it, or search spam?” Search Engine Land asks. “Pages that try to gain better rankings through things like: keyword stuffinglink schemescloaking, ‘sneaky’ redirects or ‘doorway’ pages, [and] purposeful duplicate content.”

“Google’s Matt Cutts has been talking about leveling the playing field for sites that don’t participate in ‘over-optimization,’” writes WebProNews. “Last month at SXSW, Cutts made something of a pre-announcement about such changes, and it looks like a major part of these efforts is now launching.

Unfortunately, “the shift to Google’s algorithm is likely to affect, at least initially, some Web sites that aren’t clearly violating its guidelines, according to a strategy paper for Web marketers released earlier this month by the search-engine marketing firm iProspect,” Macworld notes.

“Based on experiences with Panda and virtually all large algorithm shifts, we do expect sites that don’t appear to fit the description of the intended target to nevertheless be caught up in initial sweeps,” the iProspect paper explained.

Panda, as Macworld recalls, was a significant change in Google’s search algorithm, which was launched back in early 2011, and was also aimed at boosting the rankings of high-quality sites.

Regarding the latest changes, SEO by the Sea blogger Bill Slawski writes: “This isn’t something new, but it sounds like Google is turning up the heat some on violations of their guidelines, and we’ve seen patents and papers in the past that describe some of the approaches they might take to accomplish this change. “A good starting point is the Google patent Methods and systems for identifying manipulated articles.”

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  • Gavin O'Malley, April 25, 2012, 12:30 PM
  • Google Goes Big In Cloud Storage Expanding further into so-called desktop services, Google this week debuted a new cloud storage service with 5GB of free storage, and paid options up to 16TB. Dubbed Google Drive, the service is what The Washington Post calls “an evolution” of Google Docs. “If you've ever used the popular document-syncing service, you'll be right at home with Google Drive,” it writes. “Just like Docs, the majority of the service is based in the web browser: You'll primarily be managing your account and viewing your files from the web app.” What's new? Users can now upload any file to Drive, not just work documents, though only the latter will take advantage of the live editing features made famous by Docs. “Unfortunately, while the interface is familiar, it also carries along the same issues we've had with Docs for years,” WaPo adds. “Sharing features are still overly complicated: you can invite individual users to view and collaborate on folders and files, and through some advanced settings you can make a publicly-viewable link.” Meanwhile, the new service all offers a mobile app -- but, so far, online for Android phones and tablets. Google says it's hard at work on an iOS version.   Read the whole story...
  • "Facebook Phone" Rumors Alive & Well We’ll excuse you for not getting overly excited about the latest reports that Facebook is building its own smartphone. Yes, you’ve heard it many times before, and the source of the report, DigiTimes, has a so-so track record. Anyway, even if true, it sounds like the phone will be mostly HTC’s doing. According to DigiTimes, Facebook is working "in cooperation" with HTC on a customized smartphone, due out by the third quarter of the year -- at the earliest."The new Android smartphone being developed by HTC will have a platform exclusive to Facebook to enable and integrate all functions available on the social networking site,” DigiTimes writes, citing a source.  Not an unlikely choice for such a partnership, “It makes perfectly good sense for HTC to climb back up the ladder and find its own niche,” CNet writes. “If Samsung has Nexus, and Apple has the iPhone, HTC can go an entirely different direction and build a dedicated Facebook phone.” Previously, as CNet recalls, HTC worked with Google on the original Nexus One, but the search giant eventually took its relationship to Samsung to develop its Nexus branded smartphones. “HTC was left out in the dark, and its market share has fallen, and its profits dropped by 70 percent in Q1 2012 alone.” By comScore’s count, Samsung currently has the most market share, while HTC holds out in fifth place.   Read the whole story...
  • Google Tries To Clear Up +1 Confusion Blink and you’ll miss this latest social development from Google. The search giant this week announced a new Google+ share button that helps users differentiate between Google’s +1 functionality and the Google+ network. “Google originally launched +1 as a tool similar to Facebook’s like functionality,” Marketing Land explains. “A +1 is the equivalent to a user vouching for a Web site by liking it.  Buttons were released around the +1 functionality that allowed users to +1 content directly from a Web site.” To draw a clearer line in the sand, the new Google+ share button doesn’t include any of the +1 functionality. Instead of +1ing content users directly share the content on Google+. The Google+ share button can be downloaded from the Google Developers site. But, if publisher’s currently have the +1 button installed, there is no need to worry, Marketing Land assures, as the share functionality can also be accomplished with the +1 button. “When a user completes the +1 a screen prompts users to share.” And Google wonders why it’s having trouble replicating its search success in the social sphere.     Read the whole story...