Google Announces 'My Search History' Feature

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Sunday, April 24, 2005
Google Announces 'My Search History' Feature

Say goodbye to bookmarks! Google, in a move to outdo rivals, announced this past Wednesday that it will begin to offer its users custom accounts to search over their personal query history. The search king will unveil "My Search History," another of its experimental services. This service takes a page from the long-standing "My" programs from which Yahoo!, MSN, and others prominently use. However, unlike typical personal portal services, such as customized stocks and headlines, Google's feature will focus exclusively on archiving personal search histories for a later recall.

Why is This Important

This feature differs greatly from the automatic caching feature that resides in the Google Desktop application, which saves copies of web pages you've viewed on your personal computer. Most importantly, the service will automatically integrate with Web search so that once people have signed up and logged on they can view their personalized history alongside general information from the Web.

Using the application is easy. Simply enter your query in a Google search box and click the additional "Search History" button that is installed next to the familiar "Search Web" button. Results are displayed in what Google calls the Main View for your search history.

Results on this view are ordered by date, with your most recent searches appearing at the top. Each of your search queries is displayed as a linked, boldfaced term. Beneath each search term is a list of results that you viewed from that search, along with the time and number of times you've viewed each page. A calendar on the right side of the result page allows you to access the searches you did on a particular date. Color on a date box on the calendar shows the number of searches you did on that day. White means zero, and shades of green from lighter to darker indicate heavier usage.

As you build a search history, Google begins to cluster results from related queries together, making it easier to find conceptually similar results even if you can't recall the exact search terms you used. The more search history Google has to work with, the better the related results... at least in theory.

My Thoughts

Google's "My Search History" is a very desirable feature and one that has launched the search giant into what I feel will be the future of search. Imagine a search engine that can provide its users with personalized search results - those that 100% geared towards that individual user. Simply amazing... and that's what Google is out to achieve.

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Infospace Announces MSN Search Partnership

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Sunday, April 24, 2005
Infospace Announces MSN Search Partnership

Infospace announced this past week its plans to add Microsoft's MSN Search results to its search engine and directory. With this deal, Infospace Search will now have direct distribution agreements with the four leading Web search services, including Google, Yahoo! and Ask Jeeves.

Infospace will feature MSN Search results on its private-label partner sites, Dogpile and WebCrawler, along with its other branded search properties. Infospace, along with its other web search properties, products, and network, reaches about 14 million users monthly. This is expected to be a beneficial partnership for both parties.

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Overture Renamed to Yahoo! Search Marketing

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Friday, April 22, 2005

Overture Renamed to Yahoo! Search MarketingThe Sunnyvale, California-based company said the re-branding is designed to bring all its products for advertisers together. This is a great call on Yahoo!'s part, being as though Yahoo! is a much more recognized online company than that of Overture. The replacement of the Overture brand will take place in the U.S. market initially. Other international markets will be re-branded later, but the Overture brand will be maintained in Japan and Korea.

What Google's 'Above the Fold' Algorithm Means For SEO

The portal giant on Monday shed its Overture brand and renamed the unit Yahoo! Search Marketing. This change came nearly 2 years after Yahoo! had purchased Overture for a little over $1.5 billion, a move that has no-doubt helped Yahoo! to expand its pay-for-performance search business and its contextual advertising throughout its network.

The replacement of the Overture brand will take place in the U.S. market initially. Other international markets will be re-branded later, but the Overture brand will be maintained in Japan and Korea. Monday's change-over came as no real surprise as we have been expecting some sort of change since Yahoo! announced at the Search Engine Strategies conference this past February that they would be re-branding Overture into Yahoo! Search Marketing.

The Sunnyvale, California-based company said the re-branding is designed to bring all its products for advertisers together. This is a great call on Yahoo!'s part, being as though Yahoo! is a much more recognized online company than that of Overture. Precision Match, Overture's search advertising product, will now be sold under the "Sponsored Search" name, while its local paid search product is now called "Local Sponsored Search". All in all, they still have the same great advertising solutions... just with a different name.

For search optimization and small business, Local Enhanced Listings (a highly significant part of any local search campaign) and Yahoo! Directory Submit are now included under the Yahoo! Search Marketing umbrella. Yahoo! also added Travel Submit, a pay per click offering where travel offers and deals can be listed within the ever popular Yahoo! Travel. To christen the Yahoo! Travel Submit offering, Yahoo! is currently giving away free traffic to travel agencies and sites which open an account before June 15th.

Unifying all of the Yahoo! / Overture search marketing and related products under one roof is great move and one of many moves that Yahoo! will be taking to provide an easy, one-stop experience for their search marketing advertisers.

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Yahoo! Pledges Full Firefox Compatibility

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Friday, April 15, 2005

Yahoo! Pledges Full Firefox CompatibilityYahoo! has confirmed plans to allow Firefox users to access all of the portal giant's products and services, many of which are currently only available through Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser. A Yahoo! representative said the company will not launch any new products or services in the future without ensuring that they work on both IE and Firefox.

Yahoo! Pledges Full Firefox Compatibility

Yahoo! has confirmed plans to allow Firefox users to access all of the portal giant's products and services, many of which are currently only available through Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser.

In February, Yahoo! launched a search toolbar for Firefox, but users of the open-source browser were forced to revert back to IE to access some of Yahoo!'s well known features. For example, Yahoo! Messenger users still could not use Firefox to customize their online avatar and have to revert back to IE. However, a Yahoo! representative late last month said the company will not launch any new products or services in the future without ensuring that they work on both IE and Firefox.

Why is Firefox Integration Important

This makes complete sense in my mind as Firefox now holds approximately 5% of the browser market. That's a small share, but the arrival of the browser has dropped IE's dominant market share below 90% (Opera, Netscape and other browsers making up the rest). Firefox has received most of its attention as being an alternative to Microsoft's Internet Explorer and due to this explosive popularity, Firefox will now be added to Yahoo!'s suite of browsers to test their products against... meaning that all current and new products that Yahoo! develops will be tested with Firefox prior to release.

More than 2.6 million Internet users visited the Firefox website in March to obtain more information about the open-source software... and perhaps download it. That's up from 1.6 million in February and 2.2 million in January. So what is it that keeps the Firefox flame ablaze? Well as I have mentioned before, users are jumping ship to take advantage of what seems to be 3 simple features; features that as of today Microsoft has failed to address.

1. Firefox gives Web surfers a simple tool that blocks unsolicited windows.

2. Firefox is less susceptible to virus attacks.

3. Firefox offers a unique means of navigating multiple sites within a single browser.

As Firefox's popularity and overall public usage continues to grow, both website designers and search engine marketing specialists will need to ensure that they remain in tune with the Internet audience, even if it means developing "search engine friendly" websites with the Firefox browser in mind. I, for one have already added Firefox optimization techniques and usability strategies into my daily routines and would suggest that you do as well. It won't be much longer before Firefox has taken a greater portion of this Microsoft dominated industry and its always better to be prepared for situations such as this.

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Google Maps Adds Satellite Image Technology

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Sunday, April 10, 2005

Google Maps Adds Satellite Image TechnologyGoogle "took it up a notch" this past week when they added satellite technology to its already very popular mapping service, Google Maps. The new satellite feature allows users an option to view an aerial photo snapshot of the location for which they are searching in addition to the "general" street maps that we've come to expect.

Google Maps Adds Satellite Image Technology

In a move to outdo competitors, Google "took it up a notch" this past week when they added satellite technology to its already very popular mapping service, Google Maps. The new satellite feature allows users an option to view an aerial photo snapshot of the location for which they are searching in addition to the "general" street maps that we've come to expect.

Satellite imaging company Keyhole, which Google acquired last October, provided the technology that allowed the search giant to launch the new mapping feature. As with most mapping services, users can enter an address and then be able to view the area surrounding their query. Google, a company that is always looking for ways to improve the overall search and Internet experience, has given it's users the option of viewing an aerial photo of their query by simply clicking on a "Satellite" link.

I've personally spent some time playing around with this new feature of Google maps and I have enjoyed it very much. In my opinion, it brings much more to the table than what other popular mapping services, such as MapQuest and Yahoo! Maps, are currently offering. Google's satellite imaging offers several levels of "zoom", one so close that you can actually see inside open-roof ball parks and stadiums, and has an easy "drag and move" type navigation.

Furthermore, the only negative that I've found with using the tool is users aren't able to view small towns or residential areas with the same levels of zoom that you could when viewing cities. When viewing these areas, either the imaging gets a little distorted or Google replaces it with section all-together with a square block that states "You are unable to view this section at the selected level of zoom".

One other interesting bit is that Google plans to integrate this mapping technology with their new beta Google Local Search service. Imagine the possibilities of searching for a business or a type of business, finding it on the web, and then with a click be able to see accurate aerial photos of what the business and its surroundings look like. This is a great idea! Obviously, we knew that this type of aerial-mapping existed and is currently being offered online already. However, what makes Google Maps special is that unlike other aerial mapping services, Google is offering their version for free.

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AOL Announces Red Blogs

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Friday, April 01, 2005

AOL Announces Red BlogsTime Warner's AOL took Blogging to a whole new level when just last week they unveiled their newest service, Red Blogs, a blogging system that promises its users additional privacy-level settings for their online diaries. With this move, has AOL put themselves inline to join search giants Google, Yahoo!, and MSN in what is being publicized as the "Search Engine Wars."

AOL Announces Red Blogs

Time Warner's AOL took Blogging to a whole new level when just last week they unveiled their newest service, Red Blogs, a blogging system that promises its users additional privacy-level settings for their online diaries. Bloggers will have the following 3 choices for when selecting who is able to read their inner-most thoughts and feelings: Private, Semi-Private, and Public.

Private Blog

A private blog will be kept 100% locked and only made available to its primary user.

Semi-Private Blog

A semi-private blog will be locked to all but those who are invited to read it.

Public Blog

A public blog will be given access to anybody on the net.

Blogs are a great way to find and share information online. The one element that has been missing from almost all available blog platforms is the ability to privatize one's own posts. With regards to business bloggers like myself, having the options to privatize my blog isn't a bid deal. However, for those bloggers who share personal information intended for friends and family, this is a very desirable improvement.

According to AOL, blogs of younger teenagers - those between the ages of 13 and 15, will be locked from general public viewing. Similarly, with semi-private blogs, parents must approve the list of people invited to read the journals of younger teenagers... a great feature in my mind.

AOL obviously did their homework before launching Red Blogs as they have implemented many usability factors, factors that its users will no-doubt love and appreciate... and their parents too. With this new venture and their new local search program, announced earlier this month, AOL has put itself in line, after Ask Jeeves of course, to join search giants Google, Yahoo!, and MSN in what is being publicized as the "Search Engine Wars."

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