Facebook can't leave well enough alone, what with video ads, new search methods, and the various changes the social network juggernaut is continually kicking around. Now it at least appears to be attempting to alleviate the sting of ads by showing users only the ads they want to see. Thank you Facebook, as your "targeted" ads were more than a little insulting, more often than not.
Have you ever thought about search results as being like warm cookies? Strange as it sounds, that's exactly what Google likens them to, because like cookies straight out of the oven, search results are best when served fresh. With that in mind, the code bakers at Google tweaked their search algorithm recipe to deliver more recent results to your online queries.
Before you run out and buy that toaster oven on sale based on a glowing user review or staying at a particular side street hotel because John Smith gave it a five-star writeup on some Web reviews site, consider for a moment that you could be reading a bogus account. Positive reviews are a hot commodity, and Cornell is working on a formula to automatically detect the fake ones.
Google earlier this year essentially declared war on so-called "content farms," sites like eHow.com and Answers.com that kick out stories of questionable value to readers but are optimized for high search rankings. To cut down on the clutter and ensure more relevant links rank higher than poor quality links, Google updated its internal search algorithm called Panda back in February. Now Google is looking to update its algorithm again, this time to address a common complaint from webmasters.
Early in the year, Google began addressing complaints that their search results had become polluted with poor quality links from so-called "content farms". The search giant rolled out an update to its search algorithm known internally as "Panda" at the end of February. Now Experian Hitwise, a web traffic research firm, has directly measured the impact of the change. Noted content farm Demand Media has taken a 40% traffic hit since the update happened.
In an effort to deal with the perceived issue with low-quality content spam in search results, Google updated it algorithm last week. While that sounds all well and good on the surface, it has caused a headache for some legitimate sites that got caught up in the dragnet. Sites like Cult of Mac and Buzzle have found themselves with little remaining Google Juice. Google has said it is aware of the issues, and will work to correct these issues.
Google is constantly tweaking its fabled search algorithm. In fact, according to the search giant, the changes are so numerous and so subtle that a vast majority of them are never announced and seldom noticed. But the latest update is huge. How big you might ask? Well, big enough to impact 11.8% of all search queries. The update seeks to punish low-quality sites by reducing their visibility in search rankings. Hit the jump for more on this update.
According to Google's Matt Cutts, a new search algorithm is going live as we speak that will be the first step in combating the spam search results problem. This change to the algorithm specifically targets sites that copy or scrape content from other sites, and amp it up with Google-friendly SEO. Now users should be more likely to see results from the site that a piece of content originates on, instead of a spam site that just copied it.
This change will only directly affect about 2% of searches, and only 0.5% will change dramatically enough for most people to notice. Clearly, this is not meant to completely solve the issue of highly efficient SEO spam. But it is a solid first step, and we're happy to see it get rolled out so quickly. More algorithm changes should come along in the future as well.
Nobody likes slow websites, but you know who really hates them? Google. The search first discussed their intention to consider site speed when ranking search results late last year. Now they're actually rolling it out. Google was looking to assuage fears in their blog post saying, "While site speed is a new signal, it doesn't carry as much weight as the relevance of a page."
Google makes its case by citing internal studies showing that people like fast websites. The fact that Google designed and performed a study to show this is just illustrates how much money it has. Aside from the obvious, the Big G also noted that faster load times can decrease a site's operating expenses over time. Google will use two measurements to determine a site's speed, the response to the Googlebot and load times from the Google Toolbar.
Google's algorithm has about 200 variable in it. Adding this one is not expected to affect most sites. In their blog post, Google said that currently only 1% of results are being altered by the new rules. Interestingly, this new system was rolled out a few weeks ago. At least at this point, the difference isn't great enough that anyone noticed a change.
A thousand pardons! I got so caught up in various bits and pieces of the weekend that I completely forgot to grace Maximum PC with a Web App of the Week for last week! It's a real shame too, as I was totally proud of (and wasted a lot of time playing with) last week's big selection.
I won't put off the details any more than necessary with my usual rambling introductions. The app's called Codeorgan and, like the name implies, it's an excellent fusion of raw geek Web construction with music--truly, my two passions.
So what is Codeorgan? You'll find out pretty quickly as soon as you hit up the main Web site. In short, the Web app uses a fairly complicated algorithm to scan the behind-the-scenes HTML content of any given Web page. It then takes this information and automatically crafts up a little synthpop-style piece of music that's somehow related to the coded mumbo-jumbo. Your results will vary (extremely). However, the beauty of the app isn't necessarily for the music it creates. Rather, it's just a great example of how data in one construct--Web creation--can be parsed out to a completely different form and function--music--with a touch of engineering prowess.
That, and Codeorgan will waste two to three hours of your day as you frantically leap about the Web trying to find the coolest automatic construction of a song that you can lay your hands on. I had great results with CNN one day, yet found the song lacking as the news updated throughout the next few hours. If you find a relatively static site that delivers a rocking beat, do be sure to leave it in the comments!