With Google in the crosshairs of some Internet content providers, such as Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., it’s unsurprising that Google would feel compelled to add its two-cents worth to the debate. It turns out, from Google’s perspective, its efforts are largely misunderstood. It is not, as commonly portrayed, a monster in the ether, devouring all it encounters, but rather a benign and useful acolyte ready to serve users and content providers alike.
Danny Sullivan, of Search Engine Land, relates an extensive interview with Josh Cohen, Google’s business product manager. In it Cohen says that Google isn’t hellbent on forcing content providers to index their content, and provide it to users free of charge, but rather is willing to work with content providers in any way they way, including not linking to their content at all. Cohen says that Google offers four levels of service content providers can use, ranging from free access to content to indexing of previews or summaries, with full-content only possible through registration or payment. Google would like to see as much open content as possible, Cohen explains, but is willing to cooperate "one hundred percent" with providers to implement the level of access they want.
However, Cohen interjects, the idea of pay-to-view content isn’t necessarily the best option, even for content providers intent on maximizing revenue. Google users tend to shy away from content with strings attached. So much so that Google’s search algorithm, which mimics users desires in search results, deemphasizes sites with paywalls. Cohen argues that, at a minimum, visibility is key, even behind a paywall: “I would argue even more important if you’re putting content behind a paywall, because all of a sudden, depending on your model, again, you’re potentially shrinking your potential base of users. So you want to increase the size of that funnel, you don’t want to restrict it even further.”
If there were an office pool on how low can Microsoft stoop, the winner would be the guy who picked this. Microsoft was able to get middle schoolers at the Keith Valley Middle School in Pennsylvania to perform the Bing jingle, and on camera. The horror!
MG Siegler, over at TechCruch, rates the Bing Jingle as bad. Scratch that--he says it’s real bad. And it’s hard to disagree, with lyrics like “bing goes the internet.” (Actually, that’s the only lyric.) This detritus won top place in a Microsoft-sponsored contest. I shudder to think what came in second.
First, the internet does not go “bing.” (Or anything else for that matter). Second, I think Microsoft’s jingle is a strong argument for a moratorium on jingles for the internet. Sock puppet dogs--okay. Insipid jingles--not okay. Let’s nip it in the bud before it goes viral.
It’s not known what the school in Pennsylvania received in return for subjecting its students to this abomination. Enough, I hope, for the adults involved to sleep well, because these kids are going to have nightmares for years to come.
The free lunch of information on the Internet is about to end, if The Associated Press (AP) and Rupert Murdoch’s News Crop. have their way. Murdoch threw down the gauntlet during his opening address at the World Media Summit in Bejing, stating “the aggregators and plagiarists will soon have to pay a price for the co-opting of our content.”
The issue, for Curly and Murdoch, is the use of their content in search engines, by aggregators, and by bloggers. For too long, according to Tom Curley, chief executive of the AP, have the likes of Wikipedia, YouTube, and Facebook gotten a free ride on the backs of the “people who devote themselves--at great human and economic cost--to gather news of public interest.” It’s now time to pay up.
The AP’s position is logical given its present financial situation, and the shifting nature of advertising on the Internet. The AP saw a decrease of revenues, from $748 million in 2008 to $700 in 2009, in part due to a shifting away from traditional news sources. Murdoch, on the other hand, is just being Murdoch, advancing his long held views that news content, regardless of how provided, should be paid for. The Murdoch owned Wall Street Journal online already requires a subscription, and Murdoch is exploring similar options for his other holdings, including The New York Post and The London Times.
If the AP and News Corp. are successful, other news providers are certain to follow. This could be bad news for bloggers, many of who consolidate and interpret breaking information from a variety of sources to keep their readers informed. It would also serve to suppress the relatively free-flow of information the Internet now experiences.
Just how much could billions of bite-sized snapshots of everyday life be worth? Twitter is hoping a whole heck of a lot, according to Kara Swisher of All Things Digital. Twitter is engaged in serious discussions with both Microsoft and Google to data-mine the billions of tweets submitted by Twitter’s 54 million monthly users. Twitter is looking to score some big-time up-front cash in these deals, as well as some back-side money through revenue-sharing on search results.
Data-mining, which involves a little sleight-of-hand, involves tossing together a bunch of information and “mining” it for patterns that predict behaviors or preferences. It is widely used, we are told, to make for better consumer experiences. More often it’s used to sell us something.
The data Twitter controls is especially valuable, consisting of real-time and content-sharing information. This data would be used by Microsoft and Google to enhance the findings of their respective search engines. Basically, your tweets will be used by Twitter, Microsoft and Google to make a ‘better’ product, from which each of them will make more money. In return you get a ‘better’ user experience.
The results are in, and this might not surprise you, but Google’s market share is on the rise. November’s results show a meager, but still notable bump of 0.4 percent giving Google a grand total of 63.5 percent of all searches being done in the US. Google’s gains came mostly on the back of Microsoft’s Live Search and Ask.com which both gave up 0.2 percent. In terms of overall search engine market demand, the number of total inquires slipped a surprising 3 percent over October’s numbers. All the major search players noticed a roughly proportional drop in activity.
Despite the fact that Google appears to be well on track for world search domination, it’s worth pointing out that it isn’t all smooth sailing. The last time we reported on market share results back in August, Google enjoyed a whopping 69.17 percent of the global search market. Some of the smaller players such as AOL and Ask continue to hobble along with 3 to 4 percent of the market, but even though these numbers sound paltry, each 1 percent of the search market is reportedly worth around a billion dollars. That’s probably why competitors keep popping up, and seem to be slow to disappear.
Microsoft might have failed in its hammy attempt to acquire Yahoo, but it hasn’t relinquished its goal of improving its standing amongst search engines. To this end, it has acquired Greenfield Online for $486 million. Greenfield Online owns popular European price-comparison portal ciao.com.
The company hopes to improve the usefulness of its search results – especially for shoppers - by integrating results from ciao.com. MS is going to do away with Greenfield’s online survey business, and is known to have reached an agreement with an anonymous financial buyer over the sale of the survey business.
In a shocking discovery this week, Google has announced the detection of more than one trillion unique URLs on the web. To put these staggering numbers in contrast, the web has been growing at a pace of several billion pages per day. And with the proposed launch of new domains, this trend shows no signs of slowing. With never a marketing opportunity missed, Google used the announcement to remind users as to the efficiency of its search index. “We don't index every one of those trillion pages -- many of them are similar to each other, or represent auto-generated content similar to the calendar example that isn't very useful to searchers. But we're proud to have the most comprehensive index of any search engine, and our goal always has been to index all the world's data.” Google’s announcement was a rare glimpse into the size of its index. In years past it was fashionable for search competitors to boast about the size of their database vs. the competition. But with more than one trillion unique pages available, index envy seems to be somewhat of a moot point these days. Either way one thing is clear, that’s alot of time to waste.
As Microsoft and Yahoo do the tango, but fail to consummate anything, Google continues to erode their shares of the search engine market. According to Hitwise, Google’s share increased from 68.29 percent to 69.17 percent in June. Yahoo’s share dropped from 19.95 percent to 19.62 percent. Microsoft dropped from 5.89 percent to 5.46 percent. Their sampling is based on 10 million U.S. Internet users
Google it seems has little to worry about from the Dynamic Duo anytime soon.