Tag Archives: Google

Google Products

Google FAILs more often than you might think

A few weeks ago we brought you new of Google’s decision to shelve Google Wave. For a highly successful company Google actually fails quite frequently. It’s a testament to their sheer pace of development – they’ve launched 264 new products in the last year alone – that they can shut down so many and still continue to grow.

To remind us all that even the mighty Google makes mistakes, here’s a list of Google’s recent failures.

Google SearchWiki (closed March 2010)

The SearchWiki let you reorder the search results manually, pushing some sites higher and even deleting certain ones.

Google Audio Ads (Closed February 2009)

Google planned to allow AdWords advertisers to bid for placements on radio. In reality, they couldn’t give advertisers any measurability of the results, nor could they boost the revenues of radio stations.

Google Video (closed January 2009)

Google Video was what Google came up with before they bought YouTube. To start with, it just re-broadcast TV shows and made them searchable. Google then started to allow users to upload. And then the TV-show bit was dropped. They then bought YouTube and turned Google Video into an online video rental service, which they shut a few months later.

Dodgeball (closed January 2009)

This was Google’s early location check-in service, similar to what Foursquare is today. It was perhaps ahead of its time – there were far fewer smartphone users out there.

Jaiku (closed January 2009)

Jaiku is a microblogging service that Google bought in 2007 and for some reason has done nothing with since. It still exists, but is unsupported.

Google Notebook (Closed January 2009)

This was a tool that allowed you to cut and paste images, text and search results and paste them into an online notebook that you could share with others.

Google Catalogs (Closed January 2009)

This was supposed to be a smart way that you could search through consumer catalogues.

Google Print Ads (Closed January 2009)

As with Google Audio, Google print ads failed because it couldn’t give advertisers the measurability that search and online ads were good at.

Google Page Creator (Closed August 2008)

This was Google’s very own WYSIWYG website builder. It was always a bit clunky, and shut up shop two years ago…

Google Answers (Closed November 2006)

Never quite up to the other Q&A offerings out there – particularly Yahoo Answers – this service closed down in 2006. And that might have been due to cost – Google paid people to answer questions, rather than relying on crowd-sourced input like other services.

That’s it for now

Google launches so many new products that some of them are bound to fail. We’ve all tried out website ideas, only to lose enthusiasm as the project continues. But Google is a good role model – it doesn’t cry over spilt milk, but tries to learn something and use that information in the next idea.

Have you tried and failed, and learned something new? Leave us a comment below.

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Google Products

Is Google going to rescue Newspapers?

A couple of months ago we told you about Rupert Murdoch’s plan to charge access to The Times websites. With the newspaper group losing more money each day than most of us earn in a lifetime, he needed to make a big and bold change.

Traffic plunge

Following the change, the inevitable happened: Traffic to The Times plummeted. Although Murdoch himself claims the service is doing alright, the fact of the matter is that visitor numbers are just a fraction of what they used to be.

Content should be free!

The problem of course is that in the Internet age most people think that content – information – should be free. Newspapers have lost their paid gateway to what’s going on in the world. Much of the traffic to the Times came from Google, as it indexed The Times news stories and reproduced them in the Search Results.

But with a paywall blocking their access, Google can no longer see that content, so they can’t list The Times in the search results. So not only is no-one willing to subscribe to the content, none of us knows what they’re writing about anyway!

Here comes ‘Newspass’

Now it’s time for a drumroll. Google are riding to the rescue of The Times – and other newspapers who want to charge users for access to content – with a new micropayment platform called Newspass.

Based on Google checkout, this would allow users to make small payments to websites in order to access specific stories or content. The really great feature of Newspass is that it would allow Google to continue to index all of the newspapers content that would normally sit behind the paywall. This means they could continue to show up in the Search Results, and would therefore continue to get traffic. Google would indicate that the content would be paid-for with a small paywall icon beside the snippet in the search results.

Google say that they are “uniquely positioned to help publishers create a scalable ecommerce system via our Checkout product and also enable users to find this content via search, even if it’s behind a paywall”.

So Google is the Newspaper Saviour

So might Google rescue The Times in the end? Would you be willing to pay to access news stories? Is this also good news for website builders, who might be able to charg in future for access to their content?

Leave us a comment below.

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Social Media

Google Me – if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

The biggest rumour circulating through social media and search engine circles is that Google are about to launch a fully fledged social network called ‘Google Me’

Nothing Official

Although there’s no official (or unofficial) news from Google HQ, several insiders have said that Google are planning a social networking service very similar to Facebook.

Former Facebook employee Adam D’Angelo, who now runs Q&A site Quora, posted a thread on his site that said Google Me was “a real project and not just rumour”.

He also added a question thread saying “They [Google] had assumed that Facebook’s growth would slow as it grew, and that Facebook wouldn’t be able to have too much leverage over them, but then it just didn’t stop, and now they are really scared.”

He added “They [Google] realized that Buzz wasn’t enough and that they need to build out a full, first-class social network. They are modeling it off of Facebook. Unlike previous attempts (before Buzz at least), this is a high-priority project within Google.”

Not the first time

Google have of course tried to break into social networking before. First there was Orkut, which became popular but only in South America. And then last year we had Google Buzz, which had all sorts of privacy issues and has since been going nowhere fast.

Kevin Rose, Digg’s CEO tweeted on Monday “Ok, umm, huge rumour: Google to launch facebook competitor very soon ‘Google Me’, very reliable source.”

At some point since the tweet has been deleted.

Are you ready for yet another social networking site? Have Facebook got social networking all tied up? Should Google stick to search – what they know best? Leave us a comment below.

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Digital Marketing Social Media

We now like Social Networking more than we like Searching

Data from UK online monitoring firm Hitwise has revealed that for the first time we are visiting social networking websites more than search engines. In May 2010, visits to social networks made up 11.88% of the total, compared to 11.33% to search engines.

Here’s the graph, reproduced from Hitwise:

Of the social networking sites, Facebook makes up 55% of visits, the biggest by a long way.

YouTube takes up 2nd place, followed by Twitter in 3rd. Again, here’s the info direct from Hitwise:

Facebook still lags well behind Google as the most popular website. but whilst Google market share is broadly static, Facebook in on the rise.

Here’s another graph from Hitwise:

You know what I’m going to say don’t you?!

This highlights the increasing importance of using Social Networking websites to find new visitors for your site. Make sure you Integrate your website with Facebook and Twitter. Add a Twitter feed to your website. And of course you can now add a Facebook ‘like’ button to your website too.

Have you had good success reaching out to new visitors from social networks? Has this been on the rise? Leave us a comment below.

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Digital Marketing

How the BP Oil spill is being played out on Google

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a huge, tragic environmental disaster.

10,000 barrels of oil a day are pouring into the sea, killing sea and bird life and wrecking a beautiful coastline for a generation.

There is a war of blame being played out on our TVs nightly. Obama and the American people blame BP. BP blame the company they leased the equipment from. Reputations are hanging in tatters.

Huge events drive people to seek more information online, and they often turn to Google for that information. In this case there has been a huge growth in the number of searches related to the oil spill.

BP have been quite to pick up on this fact, and are using Google AdWords to defend their reputation. They’re currently bidding on oil spill related keywords with this advert.

They’re keen to communicate all the ways in which they are helping to fight and clean up the spill.

Wherever there’s blame, there’s a court case. And some wily law firms have wised up to this by using Google AdWords themselves, this time to gather weight behind legal action against BP.

These law firms know that any payout by BP will be huge, and they want to start the ball rolling now.

The oil spill has also had an influence on domain names, with hundreds of oil spill related domains such as bigoilspills.com being registered. Again, it’s the law firms hoping to represent claimants in their battle to win damages from BP.

The whole episode is a sad one, but which also has a huge economic influence on anyone connected.

Have you tried using Google AdWords to take advantage of any events & interests? Leave us a comment below.

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Digital Marketing

Google homepage back to normal

Yesterday we ran a story that highlighted the new Google homepage background. In an apparent copy of Bing, Google started adding screen-wide images to its ‘classic’ homepage.

In less than 24 hours, the whole thing is back to normal, albeit with a nice World Cup Doodle. We’ve got this:

So what’s behind all this?

Google originally added the backgroud to make the homepage appear more personal. But apparently there was such a negative reaction to the change Google reverted to the original.

In the official Google Blog, Marissa Mayer, Google’s vice president of search products said:

“…we launched the ability to set an image of users’ choosing as the background for the Google homepage. Today, we ran a special “doodle” that showcased this functionality by featuring a series of images as the background for our homepage. We had planned to run an explanation of the showcase alongside it—in the form of a link on our homepage. Due to a bug, the explanatory link did not appear for most users. As a result, many people thought we had permanently changed our homepage, so we decided to stop today’s series early. We appreciate your feedback and patience as we experiment and iterate.was the reason for that”

I reckon that’s a thinly veiled admission of a mistake.

Some sharp eyed peeps over on Search Engine Land noticed that search was the negative reaction to the change, that the search term ‘remove google background’ was one of the fastest rising searches yesterday!

So even the mighty Google can make mistakes!

Did you like it, prefer it now, have an opinion? Please leave one below.

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Digital Marketing

How does the weather affect search engine traffic?

After a freezing winter and a patchy spring, in the last few days hot weather has arrived. And warm weather brings a change in leisure activities.

To start with, people are spending less time at their computers. To show you what I mean, here’s a graph of visitors to the WebEden.co.uk website over the last 7 days – just look how it dips on Friday (the 1st baking day)

The weather also affects what people are searching for on Google.

Let’s have a BBQ!

According to data released from UK online traffic monitoring company Hitwise, there’s been a spike in searches for that Brit favourite the Barbeque.

In April there were an incredible 3,500 different search terms containing the word ‘bbq’. Here are the top ones by volume:

1. bbq (4.1% of all searches containing ‘bbq’)

2. weber bbq (3.1%)

3. gas bbq (2.2%)

4. outback bbq (1.5%)

5. webber bbq (1.1%)

6. cobb bbq (1.1%)

7. charcoal bbq (0.9%)

8. cadac bbq (0.9%)

9. gas bbq sale (0.9%)

10. weber bbq uk (0.9%)

What’s interesting here is the seasonal change of search volumes for particular keywords. This – combined with how highly you rank for particular keywords – will of course affect the amount of visitors that search engines bring to your website.

When is traffic highest for you?

For most businesses, traffic is highest from Jan to the end of March; and then again from September to November. If you’re a retailer, then the chances are you get most visitors in the lead up to Christmas, and the sale period immediately after. And if you run a holiday lettings or travel website then your chance of grabbing traffic will be during the periods into the lead up to school holidays. It’s important to take these factors into account when you know how to make a website.

Which market do you operate in? Have you noticed a change in search volumes to your website? How have you taken advantage of this? Leave us a comment below.

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Digital Marketing Social Media

Search the Twitter Archive

Google have created an archive of Tweets that you can search through. The archive shows what people were saying on a topic at a point in history, and the volume of comments too.

Google say they have created this archive as they say it provides great insight into events as they happened, and how people reacted to them.

To find the new tool, choose ‘updates’ from the left hand menu of the new look Google results page. At the top of the page is a chart which looks like this:

You can click on a point in the timeline and check out the Tweets that were being published.

The screengrab example above looks at the pattern of ‘golden gate park’ tweets. There’s a daily spike in mentions each afternoon, probably because people are more likely to be in the park. There’s a big peak on the 27th March, which is explained by the very sunny weather in San Francisco that day – more people were talking about going to the park.

You can replay any type of Tweets – try taking a look at some that are relevant and local to you. What did you find? Leave us a comment below.

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Social Media

How many searches per month are carried out on Twitter?

There’s a story over on Search Engine Land that discusses the number of searches carried out on Twitter every month. This is following the redesign on the Twitter homepage to make the service more search focused.

At the Twitter Chirp conference Co founder Ev Williams said that the service is handling a massive 19 billion searches per month. That, incredibly, is more than Bing and Yahoo combined. And that’s from a service that is in reality just 3 years old.

Here’s the official monthly search figures of all the top players, according to comScore:

Google: 88 billion per month
Twitter: 19 billion per month
Yahoo: 9.4 billion per month
Bing: 4.1 billion per month

Google numbers are for more than just the search engine, and include those for images, maps and –crucially – YouTube). As you can see, Twitter is now in position 2.

However, there are a few holes in Twitter figures. For a starter they’re self reporting. Secondly, those searches are often made by third party applications such as desktop clients tweetdeck and Seesmic.

And thirdly – and most significantly – many are ‘standing queries’ that are being carried out on a users behalf. For example, one of my columns in Tweetdeck is a search for ‘webeden’, so I can have a look to see if anyone is mentioning us. I’m not making that search every day, but did it once when I set up Tweetdeck. But now Tweetdeck is carrying out that search on my behalf every 150 seconds throughout the day.

Last but not least, many users choose to display their Twitter profile or a keyword search on their websites. (If you want to do this watch our tutorial on how to put your Twitter profile on your website). In these cases it’s the actual websites that are making constant, standing searches on Twitter.

So the figure of 19bn might be not quite what we’d understand as 19bn if it was searches being carried out on one of the traditional search engines. They aren’t all individual varied searches for information, products or services.

As for the actual Twitter Search page, it contributes just ‘ a few million’ searches per months. Here’s our in depth guide on how to search on Twitter.

Do you find Twitter search useful? Were you even aware it existed? Leave us a comment below.

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