Google's recent announcement of a free analytics tool has sent shockwaves through the online community. There's nothing surprising about this. What is surprising is the impact and where it's being felt.
The birthday party for Google Base--which I started in last week's column--deserves an extended celebration Here are more observations on the service that's rewriting the rules of search.
Like that cold, dead bird sitting under crumpled foil in your fridge, turkeys also haunt search campaigns. Sometimes we find them after a cook retires and we take over the kitchen; sometimes we just smell something way in the back of our search cabinet and wonder, "Where the heck did that come from?"
My suspicion is that Matt Cutts, senior Google engineer, leads a pretty normal existence most times. But twice a year, when Matt's in a room, Paris Hilton could walk through in a thong and not get a second glance.
The last time I felt this giddy, I was eight years old, and I woke up the morning of Oct. 24, my birthday, to find a 10-gallon fish tank set up on my dresser. (I'm still a very sound sleeper.) This time around, on the morning of Nov. 17, I awoke to discover Google Base was finally live. I was more excited about Base's birthday this year than I was my own.
Picture a glass jar full of marbles falling off a shelf and breaking. Imagine the hundreds of colorful globes rolling off in every direction--each one taking its own unique path. That's the mental image I see each time I'm reminded of all the industry spin-offs that have developed due to the explosion within search engine marketing.
We are all familiar with Google Images, Groups & News, but does the recent acceleration in vertical search options and direct XML feeds to Google signify a significant change in the direction for search?
In testing the limits of local search, is there such a thing as too much information? A recent request by a friend to help locate an address ignited a journey from the major search engines to the jungles of government sites. Ultimately, we found out nearly everything we wanted to know--and a few things we were surprised to discover.
Last week I was chatting with my friend Greg Jarboe. For those of you who don't know Greg, he's the guru of cranking up Web visibility through effective optimization of press releases and leveraging news search. But the pearl of wisdom that I picked up from Greg this time was an offhand comment that said volumes about our industry.
Analysts used the word "sea-change" in describing the factors underlying Google's stunning earnings announcement on October 20. Imagine the sea-change, and its impact on ecommerce, if Google's fantasy of a global commission-based digital marketing product were to become reality.