30 Apr

Business Insider – Can We Please Stop Pretending That Microsoft’s Bing Is Doing Well?

Microsoft’s Bing search engine is indeed gaining some share of search queries in the US market (globally, Bing is nowhere). But it is gaining this share at an absolutely mind-boggling cost. Specifically, Microsoft is gaining share for Bing by doing spectacularly expensive distribution deals, deals that don’t even come close to paying for themselves in additional revenue.

How much is Microsoft spending to buy market share for Bing?

Based on an analysis of Microsoft’s financial statements, Bing is paying about 3X as much for every incremental search query as it generates in revenue from that query.

What does that mean?

It means that for every $1 Microsoft generates from each new search query it buys, it spends $3 to get it.

(And that’s just direct costs–the costs of obtaining and processing the query. It doesn’t include sales and marketing, research and development, and general and administrative costs–all of which are subtracted from the -$2 Microsoft has already lost on every new query.)

Don’t believe it?

Let’s go to the numbers.

via Business Insider – Can We Please Stop Pretending That Microsoft’s Bing Is Doing Well?. Is Bing at this point helping or hurting Microsoft?

03 Jan

Coding Horror – Trouble In the House of Google

People whose opinions I respect have all been echoing the same sentiment — Google, the once essential tool, is somehow losing its edge. The spammers, scrapers, and SEO’ed-to-the-hilt content farms are winning.

Like any sane person, I’m rooting for Google in this battle, and I’d love nothing more than for Google to tweak a few algorithmic knobs and make this entire blog entry moot. Still, this is the first time since 2000 that I can recall Google search quality ever declining, and it has inspired some rather heretical thoughts in me — are we seeing the first signs that algorithmic search has failed as a strategy? Is the next generation of search destined to be less algorithmic and more social?

It’s a scary thing to even entertain, but maybe gravity really is broken.

via Coding Horror – Trouble In the House of Google. I’m seeing this start cropping up as well where Google seems to be failing in filtering out spam or content farm sites.

04 Dec

TechCrunch – Google Changes Its Rank Algorithm In Response To DecorMyEyes Story

The Google post then goes on to outline the different ways the search engine could have solved the “Bad to customers = Good for PageRank” problem, by either blocking or using sentiment analysis to pull sites with a lot of negative comments down in the rankings. Using sentiment analysis in search rank is tricky however, because it would also pull down sites about unpopular politicians and controversial issues like abortion.

Instead of using either of those two solutions to account for cases like the one described in the New York Times article, Google instead wrote an algorithm that can detect which hundreds of merchants (including DecorMyEyes) have provided “bad user experience” and algorithmically force them lower.

via TechCrunch – Google Changes Its Rank Algorithm In Response To DecorMyEyes Story. Nice job Google, kicking out the cruddy merchants.

30 Nov

BBC News – EU launches antitrust probe into alleged Google abuses

The European Commission has launched an investigation into Google after other search engines complained that the firm had abused its dominant position.

The EC will examine whether the world’s largest search engine penalised competing services in its results.

The probe follows complaints by firms including price comparison site Foundem and legal search engine ejustice.fr.

Google denies the allegations but said it would work with the Commission to "address any concerns".

Earlier this year the attorney general of Texas launched a similar investigation following complaints from firms including Foundem.

via BBC News – EU launches antitrust probe into alleged Google abuses. Not too shocked that Google is accused of abusing it’s power, that being said I actually would be shocked to see Google found guilty.

31 Jan

Everybody Take a Step Back and Breathe

Want to know what happened on the internet today?

Oh and that isn’t even half of the articles that I know of published, I’ve seen a few of the actual news orginaztions one’s start coming across including WSJ and NYT.

This is ridiculous, sure Google is a big company, that does a lot of searches especially in the US (roughly 70% currently). But seriously the entire internet and the people writing on it seemed to have a freak out. Guess what Google makes mistakes as does every other company on the face of the earth, most especially software companies, think of Apple and the original MobileMe mess, or Microsoft and well Microsoft.

This occured for roughly an hour at most for any one customer and most likely less than 40 minutes. It also occured early on a Saturday morning, a time when I doubt the vast majority of the public is online. I wasn’t online and even if I was I doubt I would have even noticed. Sure I use Google a lot, I have in a typical day roughly 30+ searches recorded by Google, today already Google shows that I’ve searched 40 different times. But really is it worth it for the entire internet to freak out?

03 Dec

Don’t Let Google See Your Private Information

There was a story in Techcrunch today about a hosting provider (Meteora Technologies Group) that accidentally revealing revealed a dump of Kleiner Perkins’s iFund database. The moral of the story don’t even put stuff publicly online that you don’t want Google (or the public) to find out about.

Google isn’t just good at their job, they are the best on the face of the earth at indexing the Internet. They do it faster and better than any other search engine. Google will index this blog within about 15 minutes of a post being published, the other search engines who knows. Pretty impressive considering how small this blog is. Google finds things that you don’t even realize Google could find.

The only solution is if you have something you don’t want Google to find, put it behind a login screen, one that even Google can’t get past. If you can’t build it or don’t know how to set it up, then don’t put it online.