Archive for the ‘Search Strategy’ Category


When Search borrows from your “friend list”

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Facebook is a closed garden with one-way doors.

This means that data comes in, but it’s not coming out –yet. I predict that Facebook will continue to have mass user adoption at the consumer level, when they get smart, they’ll use their online identity system as a widget, and it will be what Microsoft Passport never was.

In this following post from Inside Facebook, they suggests that Google is not relevant in Facebook, Facebook has it’s own news and feed ranking indexes and systems. Facebook has it’s own search tool, it’s own social network to find information.

[Future information finding systems will evolve to use data from your social network, yielding results based upon your trusted peers]

If search evolves, will we rely on personal social network features (what do my friends think and recommend) over search? Will we evolve to smaller network based searches? In many ways, this is what Mahalo was trying to overcome, the problem with that is that I don’t know (and therefore don’t trust) the editors creating the Mahalo data. This is why so many thought leaders are already thinking about their Facebook strategy.

Although Google continues to evolve it’s AI to build better search tools, trust continues to be the leading factor in finding information, that’s why I think that Google search results have much to be desired: popular is not the same as correct.

The future of search will contain human elements in addition to algorithms.

How to be a Technorati top 100 Blogger! Learn from a consultant to Kawasaki, Arrington, and Calacanis)

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When I met Neil Patel at Searchnomics, I knew he was something special. Check out this podcast interview of Neil on Marketing Voices with Jennifer Jones.

Who’s Neil? He’s one of the top Social Media Optimizers and Search Engine Optimizers, in fact he’s even offered to help improve my blog, and we’ll demonstrate a change by making my analytics public. I’ll let you know more as I get closer to that project.

In any case, listen in and learn from Neil, he’s helped TechCrunch, Guy Kawasaki, and Jason Calcanis (after Jason said that SEO was a fraud, Neil took on the challenge and showed a 30% increase from organic traffic) What’s the secret to being a top blogger? Neil says it’s about having great content.

The problem with Google Search Results: Why being “popular” and “web native” sucks

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Google results are crap, but we use them anyways.

Many people are trying to game Google. In fact there’s a whole industry called Search Engine Optimization that focuses on doing this, many of them I know personally.

Here’s two reasons why Google Search results suck:

Google Results return most Popular
The problem with Google search results is that it returns the most “Popular” content, which doesn’t mean it’s always the “Right” content.

For example, Scoble often tells folks he’s “The number one Robert on Google”, yet there are Roberts that are more well known than him, such as Robert Redford or Robert Dinero.

Google yields content only on Web
This leads to problem two: Google delivers the most popular webpages or sites that exist on the internet, and it you’re not on the internet, do you matter? The problem is, Robert Redford and Robert Dinero have a stronger precence on the silver screen and TV than they do on the internet.

I come up top for Web Strategist, and Social Media Measurement, but does that mean I’m the best? the most accurate? nope, not at all.

So what will happen? How will we evolve? Boss John Furrier suggests that we look at social networks, communities, and those we trust to find information. I’ll bet part of the answer is there.

Spock Review and Exclusive Interview with Co-founder

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I’ve been given a login to the private version of Spock from friend Dave McClure a vertical search engine and was actually very pleased to see what was going on. While I’m often very cautious of people recreating existing communities this one is doing something different and doing something that matters.

Spock is a search engine for people. It has the ability to organize all of one’s personal information and aggreagate on to one page. I had a few questions after I had cruised around the application, think of it as like a wiki or tagging for individuals.

Here’s what I think are some key advantages for Spock: The platform lets us organize information around a person, rather than the applications that collect the data. Users can submit keywords about different individuals, so it’s really a peer based review. Great way for seeing how others think about an individual. You can also find other individuals with similar keywords and features, while there are certainly too many social networks out there this could potentially aggregate all that data for one profile. I see an opportunity to partner with other identity and profile networks like LinkedIn, Plaxo, and even OpenID. At some point the web will need a verifiable identity for individuals, it would be nice to have the option of coupling it with this data from Spock.

Dave connected me with Jay Bhatti, the co-founder and VP of Product, who was able to answer my questions. The intro that matters, are the keywords on his Spock profile:

smartvote Co-Founder of SPOCK.COMvote Wharton School of Businessvote Spock teamvote Spock board membervote product managervote liger lovervote athleticvote not just any bhattivote born in indiavote Accenturevote Wharton MBAvote Co-founder SPOCKvote smelly shirtsvote brown eyes


Jeremiah: I’m checking out Spock it looks interesting, it was great for my ‘ego surf’, as well as find out about others that share similar interests. So what is Spock? And how’d you get that catchy name?

Jay: Spock is a search application that organizes information around people to enable discovery and learning. We got the name in a open domain name auction. The original register did not renew the domain and it was bought by someone who put it up on sale and we had the winning bid


Jeremiah: Why Spock? What’s broken? What does Spock do that Google or Wikipedia can’t?

Jay: Searching for information around people is hard and broken. For example, you probably have thousands of people in your address book, but you could not quickly and easily find those that went to Stanford and work at Google (unless you spend hours organizing all this in your address book). Spock will solve the problem for you to easily and quickly organize the people in your world with minimal effort (Spock and the community will do most of the work in organizing this information for you).

Google organizes info around web documents, we organize information around people. which requires a much different approach (man and machine contribution) and much more sophisticated algorithms (how do we know a page is about a person and not a car? Google does not care what the web document is about, only its relevant keywords. Spock really cares about if the document is about a person, and that is hard to do).

Wikipedia is only for famous people. Spock is about every person on the planet. So, if your looking for a dentist in Sacramento who went to Stanford Dental school, you would use Spock, not Wikipedia.

Jeremiah: What can we expect in the future from Spock? Will this expand to other verticals?

Jay: We will stay focused on people. Spock will not expand into other verticals. We want to be the number 1 search application for people in the world. In the future, we will expand the richness of information around people with features like news and videos organized around people.

I hope this helps.


Jeremiah: Thanks Jay, it does help, good clarifications and segmentations, I look forward to seeing it more widely adopted.


Screenshots

Since most folks can’t login to Spock yet, I’ve been given permission to share a few screenshots, take a look:

Spock Homepage
Above Image: The Spock homepage,spartan and clean.

Jeremiah Owyang's Spock Profile
Above Image: My profile, I didn’t add any of these tags, this was done by my network, guess what people think about my wife?

Spock's Paris Hilton Profile
Above Image: My good friend Paris’s profile (actually she had two profiles in Spock)

All Spock members tagged "Drunk Driver"
Above Image: Tags yield clusters: Clicking on any of the tags helps to find people with similiar attributes, in this case, Paris and friends share “drunk driving”


Final Thoughts:

Spock was fun for the ego search, I could also find folks with common interests, that was helpful and interesting. I find Wikipedia restrictive and non-fun, Spock fulfills this. I see Spock has some interesting ways of aggregating ‘Universal Personal’ info but I would be a bit concerned that Google could easily offer this with some of their new “Universal Search” directions. Most important questions: Would I use Spock? Yes. Would I tell others? Yes. Would I invest money into it? There’s not enough with the current feature set.

Marissa Mayar, VP of Google on The Future of Search and Announcing Google Gadget Ventures “We pay you $100,000”

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Marrissa Mayar was the closing Keynote at Searchonomics today in Santa Clara, she gave an overview of all the Search tools as well as an announcement of a new program, read on to find out.

The Google Search Inventory:

Language Translator “Clear”
Google is investing heavily in automated translation, why? This technology can break down languages barriers. They’ve launched “Clear”, the slides showed Arabic translated to English. This tool will provide powerful results in multiple languages

Google Book Search
Google is working on crawling high quality content, such as their library program of 16 libraries and over a dozen publishers. For books that are not scanned, extensive metadata is being crawled and organized. A location based tool will help identify which libraries have the book you need available. For scanned books, Google will allow viewing of books of “limited preview” or “view all”. Additional metadata “About this book” will be improved. Lastly, a really interesting feature is a Google Mashup, “Places mentioned in this book”

Images and Video
Many improvements made over summer, including YouTube integration.

Speech Recognition empowers Video Search
Have you heard of “1800-GOOG-411” Users can call this phone number and do voice search. Voice to text can even empower for speech recognition over video for transcripts. Facial search is not far along.

Universal Search

Local books, news, and media appear more like an encyclopedia, it’s a content aggregator. Blogs maybe included by the end of year, Podcasts may take more time as less metadata available.

Mobile Search
Usually during summer google.com has a dip in usage, however this year, the analytics for mobile access has increased. Universal search will be present here.

Maps and Local
Google maps currently has traffic maps, data is from third parties to measure congestion, and also available on mobile devices. Streetview, although somewhat controversial, can save users time to navigation a local search experience.

Google APIs, Gears, Gadgets
These tools provide hooks into multiple applications. Users and developers can run their applications on a faster user experience. Google reader is now supported by Google Gears. Google Gadgets spans the desktop to the web experiences

iGoogle
Will provide a customized and personalized homepage for users, it also has skins. Some of the skins track the time zone and match sunrise and sunset and movement of celestial bodies. This will tie with Gadgets, the web becomes modular. The Gadget Wizard will allow develoepers to create new applications and gadgets. One of the most successful developers was 17 year old Caleb, who developed for his community, high school users, he’s received 6.5 Million views a week. What did they access? A periodic table, and other school-centric tools. Developing these tools is free.

“Gadgets are a new form of advertising, and that’s the type of interaction we want to foster”


Announcement: Google Gadget Ventures

Google sees an interesting trend in the Gadget network. There’s an industry showing early growth trends such as SEO and Ad Sense. This will encourage business ventures that rely on the Gadget platform.

Grants to develop Gadgets will be provided in two phases:

Tier 1) 250,000 page views will be tier 1, $5,000

Tier 2) Seed investment of $100,000, must have received tier 1 grant and must present a business plan

Google is going to fund the small developer to build on their platform, this is one of the first of it’s kind in an open network. The details about Google Gadget Ventures are here. Are you qualified? Read the FAQ. Or check the official Google Blog.

Related Sessions I covered at Searchnomics:

  • Searchnomics Conference: Social Networking User Generated Content and Search
  • Searchnomics Conference: Video Search Optimization and Marketing
  • Search meets Web Analytics at Searchnomics Conference
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    Searchnomics Conference: Social Networking User Generated Content and Search

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    Panel was moderated by Jeremy Crane from Compete.com, he had a preso, but I came in late.

    Red Bricks Media, Elliot Easterling

    User content and Search Web 2.0
    -There are two things people are looking for in Web 2.0: 1) Information 2) Community
    -Case Study of Eric a Yahoo dessenter
    -Trust is a factor, users trust other users above all else

    The Downside of UGC (I hate that term)
    -Blog Spam and Social network noise is a mess
    -Disney does not want to have anything to do with UGC
    -Bloggers can smear brands
    -Risk of being “off-brand”

    How to Leverage Social Media, Neil Patel
    Neil is a SEO, SMO, and Internet Marketer, he’s also a pretty cool guy, and supports some of the top A-list bloggers

    -Fab Four: Reddit, Delcioius, Digg, Netscape. Can drive thousands of users and links
    -Get to know your audience
    -Some stories got 4525 Diggs
    -Imporant Factors: Number of Votes, Time, Voters, Submitter, Friends
    -What not to do: Self promotion, add biased information, paying for votes, break community rules, SPAM

    What to do: Add tons of friends, participate in the community, user great titles and descriptions, become a top user, submit during the right time


    Discussions:

    There will be other sites for baby boomers called “eons”.
    Consider diversifying your web strategy, don’t put all efforts into one area
    There’s rumors that the virtual gifts on Facebook are making the creators a lot of money
    How to sell this internally?
    Second Life: Try not to build a real world store, be a more creative.


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