Less privacy means better search results – By Paul de Sousa
These days almost everyone knows that one of the biggest algorithmic factors that taken into consideration by the major search engines when ranking sites have been links. So essentially the history was something like the more links that point to a website, the more important that site must be. However savvy blackhatters and spammers and anyone wanting good rankings started acquiring backlinks hand over fist in order to get better rankings. Once the cat was out of the bag, there was a need to find a different factor and thus more authoritative factors needed to be incorporated and thus saw more influence from sites such as Educational (.edu) and Government (.gov) sites. Again this was short-lived because of the fact that backlink hunters found ways of acquiring links from these sites through various and often nefarious methods. So the next step in the evolution of the perfect algorithm would be to see who links to you and not what links to you – hence the growing importance of the author attribute in links (rel=”author”)
The way that its starting to appear is that Google is starting to place emphasis on people who link to sites and not websites or webpages that link to other webpages or sites. While conventional link measuring will still be around and part of the algorithm for a long time, it will eventually start taking cognisance of “verified authors” hence the hype to push the Google + platform as this is the starting block of starting to build profiles on web authors. Essentially everyone who is a web author will over time become recognized and classified. Potential spammers will be flagged in a negative manner, reliable sources will be flagged in a positive and we may very well see links by known spammers getting less recognition and known authoritative authors will lend more clout to links.
So what does this mean for the average person? Well, in order for this to work correctly, it would make sense that your presence on the internet will be logged and monitored in order to be classified. Where does this leave the privacy issues? You work it out. All those porn sites you linked to will come back to bite you in the ass
A nice graphic that shows international search engine market share.
We live in an age where technology binds all, where we are in a constant state of communication.
We are in contact with everyone around us, we receive news and updates on happenings around us in a myriad of different ways, through mobile devices, laptops, pc’s, cell phones.
We are never anywhere without some device or communication tool which allows us to keep in touch. Facebook status updates and twitter allow us to let the world know what we are up to.
Back in the day ICQ was “THE” IM client, then along came yahoo, aim, msn, jabber, googletalk and then someone once showed me pidgin – an IM client that allowed you to plug into msn, aim and yahoo all at the same time.
I was expecting something like pidgin but after installing it and playing about I realized that it was far more than JUST a multi IM client.
Digsby also plugs directly into twitter, facebook, facebook chat, Myspace and any imap or pop mail as well as MSN messenger, Aim, , Yahoo, Jabber and ICQ.
The actual chat client is 1 interface with the ability to tab additional chat sessions with other people, even across different protocols and networks.
Much like outlook’s mail notification that pops up with a small window at the bottom of your monitor (you can choose which corner of your monitor you want it to pop up in) with a preview, you get a popup of notifications from facebook feeds, twitter, email, etc etc
Digsby also allows file transfers, its skinnable and has many various options to tweak.
You can voice chat, video chat or text chat.
It works on Mac OS, Windows or Linux.
The other cool thing about it is that you can have a widget on your website or blog that plugs straight into digsby and allows visitors to your blog to chat directly to you if you’re online.
I was going to try it but then thought of how insanely not productive I would be if I spent the day chatting to people I didn’t know.
There’s also a facebook widget which allowspeople who visit your profile to say howzit to you.
To say that I am impressed with Digsby would be incorrect, I am more than impressed with it and I reckon that this is the future of communication.
All they need to do is get a mobile application working and hook up skype into the mix and thats all you will ever need.
Give it a try and let me know what you think.
I recently wrote to Matt telling him about our strategy using WordPress and he blogged about it on his blog.
I am quite amped about it although I am a bit sorry that I have neglected this blog for what seems to be forever.
I promise you that I had no intention of not blogging, but due to certain circumstances, I had to rearrange certain priorities.
However I am thinking that I may be back.
I went off on a bit of a tangent to see how Search Engine friendly I could make a WordPress site and bought a domain specifically for that purpose, slapped on wordpress, tweaked the bejesus out of it, seo’d it up to the eyeballs, splashed it silly with content , ploughed plugins into it, linked to it from various sites to get the spiders to find it quickly and put it live.
Within a couple of days I was finding links to it on Google and Yahoo! and from January 1st to the 15th it has atracted more than 4000 UNIQUE visitors.
I’ll blog about that sometime too.
I signed up and did a few searches, hoping that I was stumbled upon the next best thing to hit the net, however , like many others, I was bitterely dissapointed with the search results. The novelty of the attached mini articles will wear off, although I do like the idea, it’s pretty novel.
I just hope for their sake that their search results improve.
The idea of including a mini article on the serps can definitely be improved on, kind of like Ask, but hopefully not that over done.
Wikipedia founder’s search engine gets bad reviews
But founder Jimmy Wales is as optimistic as ever.
By Farhad Manjoo
Jan. 07, 2008 | “We are aware that the quality of the search results is low,” Search Wikia points out in a bold-faced notice on its site, but the concession isn’t silencing many critics. The new search engine, an ambitious effort spearheaded by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, has been so long in the making — and so overhyped — that on seeing the product for the first time today, critics couldn’t contain their scorn.
TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington calls it “one of the biggest disappointments I’ve had the displeasure of reviewing.” And at Search Engine Land, Chris Sherman labels Search Wikia “essentially useless as a search engine,” and he wonders if the project can ever succeed, and, indeed, if it’s even necessary.
As Wales conceives it, Search Wikia is not just a new kind of search engine, it’s an entirely new kind of Web project.
Jimmy Wales wants people out on the Internet to help build something as complex and useful as Google, in much the same way that people took his desultory online encyclopedia and transformed it, over the years, into the world’s best reference source. In fact, this project is even more ambitious — here people are working not only to edit text but to edit computer algorithms and policies, the arcane set of systems that companies like Google need an army of developers to run.
Can such a thing ever work? Wales can be a big talker, but mainly he’s self-effacing. When I asked him, a few months ago, about the difficulties of his project, he admitted, “I could fail. I have no idea. But I’m going to have fun trying.”
He also noted that the first version of the search engine wouldn’t be very good at all. He was right. You can try it out here. I ran many searches and, like other testers, found that a great deal returned poor results.
As one example, type in Paul Greengrass. The first result is the Amazon entry for the “Bourne Ultimatum” DVD (which Greengrass directed), followed by several haphazardly ordered links to reviews, sketchy DVD stores, and questionable foreign sites. Search for the same term in Google and you find, first, a link to Greengrass’ filmography at the Internet Movie Database, and next a Wikipedia entry, which tells you Greengrass is a kick-ass movie director. The results page is superb.
Search Wikia’s spotty results are by design. The trouble with the sort of project Wales is building is that, even if it may one day succeed, it’s got to start off sucking.
At its birth, the Google search engine pretty much beat out every competitor — that’s what made it so successful so fast. Search Wikia, like Wikipedia, will improve only if people help it. The site allows you to rate the search engine’s results — you can do so by clicking on the stars that come up next to some links. You can also alter its white list (which tells the site which pages to include in its results), and, more generally, you can help create new policies determining how the whole thing will work.
Wales wants people, now, to start doing that work. In an interview a few minutes ago, he told me, “We have enough features there that people will find useful in their day-to-day work. They’ll find that a reason to stick around and use the product even while the search results are improving in quality.”
In time — a long time, at least two years, Wales says — Search Wikia will return results that are as good as those of the other engines.
But search quality is not his only goal. Wales says we need an open-source, transparent search engine — one that explains why it’s returning the results it is — because search determines how we understand the world. What we get on a Google results page is too consequential to keep the method behind those results hidden.
Really, then, the debate over Search Wikia is more about philosophy than functionality. I mentioned to Wales that he’s got a chicken-and-egg problem — he needs people to use the search engine in order to improve it, but people aren’t going to use a search engine that gives them lousy results.
Sherman suggests that Wales’ push for transparency and community may not be enough of an inducement for people to join the project:
And as searchers, do we really want or need that transparency? Ten years ago I could look under the hood of my car and fiddle with my engine when I wanted to modify something. Today, just about every system in my car is computerized, completely inaccessible to my tinkering. But given the virtually maintenance-free operation of my car I’m perfectly happy with that change and don’t long for the lost days of “engine transparency” at all.
But Wales believes people are yearning for transparency. He says that he has no worries that nobody will want to work on Search Wikia; what he worries about, in fact, is that he’ll get more volunteers than the project can effectively manage.
Wales was right about this for an online encyclopedia. Eventually we’ll know if he’s right about search, too. But not soon.