Earlier this week I received two different media requests for quotes that were focusing on the development of new search engines. The journalists working on these pieces wanted to understand everything -- from why new search engines were needed, to which ones seemed to have the best chance of succeeding. And, as many journalists like to push their angle, they each asked the following salacious question, "Will Engine XYZ be the GoogleKiller?"
Last week, I looked at the impact the inclusion of graphics on the search results page might have on user behavior. This week, we look at the impact that personalization might bring.
On Aug. 27 Bodog, a $7.3 billion-a-year online casino business, lost its primary domain Bodog.com as a result of a patent dispute. As the story goes, 1st Technology of Las Vegas was suing Bodog in a Washington state court for patent infringement, and Bodog apparently did not defend itself. The judge awarded $50 million in damages, and forced its U.S.-based domain registrar to turn over Bodog's famous domain to 1st Technology, making Bodog.com go black to its members, link traffic and search engines. Needless to say, a domain move for an online business of this size could be potentially ruinous, …
Calling all spiders! Facebook wants its profiles to be part of your Web. Facebook will soon open up its 39 million profile pages to give them more visibility in search engines. As Danny Sullivan points out at Search Engine Land, search engines already index Facebook profiles -- though only about 25,000 are indexed, according to Amit Agarwal; that's 0.064% of all profiles. To date, profile indexing has largely been on an opt-in basis, but Facebook is now switching to an opt-out model.
When it comes to advertisers' running ads on competitors' terms, Google takes a free-market approach. Google -- which describes its ad program as simply "a provider of space for advertisements" -- takes limited responsibility for the keywords that advertisers bid on, and offers little more than a "limited investigation of reasonable complaints" when companies advertise on other business' trademarked terms. Many advertisers are clearly unhappy with trademark laxity. But what does Google's relaxed trademark treatment mean for searchers? The answer, I think, is a better variety of search results.
A couple of months ago, I participated in a 3-part series aimed at defining a search engine. In my contribution, I made the claim that a Web service that doesn't search beyond its own e-borders is not a true search engine. Now I'd like to make an additional claim, namely, that search can be divided into two categories: the passers and the catchers.
The world of the search results page is changing quickly, which means that we're going to have to apply new rules for user behavior. This week, I'd like to look at some results from a recent eye tracking study about how we interact with search when graphic elements start to appear on the page.
In my last column I covered the ground-breaking MyLifeBits project currently underway at Microsoft. Led by Gordon Bell, a team of researchers is attempting to build a memex (memory extender) by digitizing and archiving everything from personal emails and documents to phone calls and TV shows. Today I'll spend some time on the challenges Bell and team face in creating a memex and the issues we'll encounter if/when such a tool is ready to roll out.
Quick: what's the fourth-largest search engine? The good news is, the answer is suddenly less clear than it's ever been, thanks to comScore announcing that it's "expanding the market view of the search universe to encompass other searches that occur on the Internet." It's about time -- and time, too, for a prediction I made last year about MySpace to come true.
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