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YouTube’s Space Lab – Invitation for Scientists to Show their Skills

October 11, 2011

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Google has launched a YouTube Space Lab channel in association with Lenovo. It is inviting all the scientists to come up with a science experiment for space and upload a video on YouTube explaining the experiment.

If the idea wins, it will be performed on the International Space Station and live streamed on YouTube for the world to see. And ofcourse, the idea winner will get to earn some cool prizes too!

So, put on your thinking caps and come up with your own experiment. It is a very good opportunity for the young space scientists to come up with innovative ideas and showcase the same to the world.

For more details visit, http://www.youtube.com/spacelab

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Google’s Zagat Acquisition – What It Means for Search Marketers?

September 21, 2011

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Zagat, one of the pioneers in user-generated content who provided a platform to write and publish reviews for restaurants has now been acquired by Google.

In spite of being a pioneer, Zagat couldn’t survive amidst the other startups like Yelp. But well, Google saw the potential in owning this user-generated content website which goes well with it’s Google Places services.

Google had already removed all third party content from Places pages and now it will publish only reviews from Zagat. So what it means for Search Marketers?

  • Local restaurants who are already using Zagat, well this is really good news for them. Those that are not using Zagat, this is the time to get some reviews there as now these reviews would be displayed on Google Places. Encourage the customers to write reviews on Zagat. I personally feel that with Google’s name attached to Zagat, popularity of Yelp and Urbanspoon would be reduced.
  • Considering the strong credibility Google holds, Zagat’s reviews will now become more important. These reviews would be fed into Google Search, Google Places and even possibly Google’s Hotel Finder.
  • Zagat also has  a strong presence in mobiles with its review app available for almost all the handsets. With Zagat’s review app and Google’s localized search, we could see potentially a very useful application.

With the combination of Zagat’s reviews, Google Plus and local search, Google can deliver personalized recommendations of hotels based on the user’s preferences.

One of the point made by Zagat is that their reviews are different from the other review websites. They claim that the reviews are of higher quality than the ones published by its competitors as they are written by verified users and reviewed by their staff members.

With a company like Google who keeps pressing for quality content, this deal is a very thoughtful and useful one. After social networking, hotel reviews, only time will tell what Google has planned next….

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Pagination with rel=”next” and rel=”prev”

September 16, 2011

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Just like rel=”canonical” tag tell Google about duplicate content, two new tags rel=”next” and rel=”prev” can now be used to indicate the relation between component URLs in a paginated series.

On the web, we find paginated series of content everywhere, an article divided into several pages, or a product category with items spread across several pages, or a forum thread divided into a sequence of URL’s.

Now, you can help Google put all these components within a series by using rel=”next” and rel=”prev” tags. Using these tags, you can either do one of the following:

  • Inform Google to consolidate indexing properties, such as links, from the component pages/URLs to the series as a whole (i.e., links should not remain dispersed between page-1.html, page-2.html, etc., but be grouped with the sequence).
  • Ask Google to send users to the most relevant page/URL—typically the first page of the series.

Although, if you have a “view-all” option, then Google will attempt to show this version in results if appropriate rather than showing a component page.

Implementing rel=”next” and rel=”prev”

Google has explained in great detail as to how to implement the tag properly. You can get more information on their blog as well. Consider the following example of an article that spans across 4 pages.

http://www.example.com/article?story=abc&page=1
http://www.example.com/article?story=abc&page=2
http://www.example.com/article?story=abc&page=3
http://www.example.com/article?story=abc&page=4

On the first page, http://www.example.com/article?story=abc&page=1, you’d include in the<head> section:
<link rel="next" href="http://www.example.com/article?story=abc&page=2/>

On the second page, http://www.example.com/article?story=abc&page=2:
<link rel="prev" href="http://www.example.com/article?story=abc&page=1" />
<link rel="next" href="http://www.example.com/article?story=abc&page=3" />

On the third page, http://www.example.com/article?story=abc&page=3:
<link rel="prev" href="http://www.example.com/article?story=abc&page=2" />
<link rel="next" href="http://www.example.com/article?story=abc&page=4" />

And on the last page, http://www.example.com/article?story=abc&page=4:
<link rel="prev" href="http://www.example.com/article?story=abc&page=3" />

What it does for SEO’s?

If you do have a lot of paginated content, it would be good to get it indexed in an organized way all together in Google to enable your readers have ease of access. I don’t see a lot of benefits arising out of it in terms of value, but surely it is a step ahead to make the information on web more organized. Besides, there is no negative effect of implementing it. Even if you implement it incorrectly, Google will then ignore the tags and continue indexing the way it does without the tags.

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G-Male Imagines World Where Google Creates Perfect Boyfriend

September 6, 2011

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Comediva, a female comedy brand has released a comedy video entitled “G-Male”, in which it imagines a world where Google has created the perfect boyfriend.

The video is inspired by the growing dominance of Google and the launch of Google+.

“We wanted to satirize the idea that Google has taken over all aspects of our lives, so why not dating?” remarked “G-Male” Director and VP of Production for Comediva, Emily McGregor. “And like any clingy boyfriend, or any technology that is always hanging around, infiltrating our space, he’s really hard to break up with.”

Added Comediva President and Founder, Erika Cervantes: “The best thing about ‘G-Male’ is that he’s acutely aware of what a woman wants because he is the data driven type. He has basically analyzed each and every little thing to maximize the boyfriend-girlfriend experience.”

You can view the video below:

 

 

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Convert Flash Files to HTML5

August 26, 2011

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Google Labs have come up with a new tool that allows users to convert Flash SWF files to HTML5. The cool tool, Swiffy, allows users to reuse the Flash content on devices that do not support Flash players such as iPhones and iPads.

Swiffy currently supports a subset of SWF 8 and ActionScript 2.0, and the output is generated in all the Webkit browsers such as Chrome and Safari.

If you want to try it out, then go here.

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Googlebot Now Crawling Google News

August 26, 2011

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Google News recently made a new update to crawl the news using Googlebot. Well, it might not be a very important update for most of the publishers and thus, news organizations who wish to opt out of Google News can do that. But I’m sure that none of them would want to do that considering the reach of Google News network.

Google Help Center has provided some guidelines on how to use robots protocol if you wish to be excluded or included. Some of the main points are listed here:

  • You will only see Googlebot user-agent in your website’s traffic logs. Google has clarified though that Googlebot instead of Googlebot-News does not matter as long as inclusion policies are concerned. So, if you opted out of Googlebot crawling your news and you see Googlebot coming in your traffic logs, don’t panic. Google respects your decision but is just trying to make the naming conventions standard. Moreover, if you still have doubts, you can check your website in Google News search bar by typing, site:abc.com.
  • If you are using any analytics tool, then you should be able to see two sets of traffic just like before, one coming from Google Search and one coming from Google News. The only difference is that the automated visits from Googlebot-news crawler will not longer be visible.
  • If your website is complying to the guidelines for Googlebot then you don’t have to make any changes to your website. Though the websites that require login or registration before displaying the full article, Google News will only be able to crawl the text that is visible prior to login.
  • The News Sitemap of websites will still be crawled in the normal way. So, the news publishers who have not setup a news sitemap, this is a good wakeup call for you guys to make one.

To summarize in simple words, any news publishers who wish to opt out of Google News and want to stay in Google Search can disallow the news bot and allow the search bot. You can check out the help article on how to do this here.

From SEO or Marketing perspectives, I’m really not sure how this update would help, but let’s see how many news websites go for the change.

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Google’s Android now has Double Market Share of Smartphones

August 14, 2011

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Google’s Android OS that runs on various handsets including HTC, Motorola, Sony and Samsung, is now the most widely used operating systems among the smartphones. It appeared on 43.4% of the new smartphones that were sold in the last three months.

Last year it accounted for just 17.2% of the market but this year, out of the 107.7 million smartphones shipped in three months, 46.8 million had Android OS.

Android is now the leader in mobile OS, overthrowing Nokia’s Symbian, whose market share has almost halved from the same period over an year ago. It now accounts to just 22% of the mobile OS market.

Apple’s iOS is approaching the Nokia’s Symbian with 18.2% market share.

Looking into the statistics, Google and Apple are the clear market leaders as their combined market share has almost doubled to 62% as compared to 31% share of last year.

Even though this quarter, Nokia has sold the maximum number of handsets, it’s market share has fallen from what it was last year.

The second most selling handset is Samsung, followed by LG.

Surprisingly, even though Apple announced the launch of iPhone 5, sale of iPhone 4 doubled this quarter to the same period last year.

RIM, the manufacturer of Blackberry handsets, saw a decline in their market share by 12%. The company also lost its number 5 position in mobile device vendors to ZTE.

From the trend, it seems that Google would soon be the market leader in mobile industry soon. With the success of its OS, it might as well try once again to bring a revolutionary handset to compete with the iPhone. Only time will tell…

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Google Has New Improved Form for Reporting Webspam

August 10, 2011

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Internet is overflowing with the number of websites. Countless websites are coming up everyday and a lot of them are just spam websites used either for link farming or adsense. It usually gets frustrating to actually hunt through these websites and get to the ones that are real.

Now you can report these websites as Webspam, i.e. those sites that violate the Google’s webmaster guidelines and use some black hat tricks to get ranked higher. Google now has a improved webspam reporting form where it is very easy to report a spam and also enables Google to keep its index clean.

Here are some of the features of the new webspam reporting form:

  • You can report various types of search issues. Paid links, Copyright issues, Objectionable content, Malware Phishing are some of the issues that you can report. In the previous form, users didn’t have many options to select and thus, most of the time they ended selecting others. Google identified this to cause delay in the process of marking a website as spam and thus, it hopes that with the introduction of more nuclear choices, it will be able to make this process faster.
  • There are helpful links to understand each issue better. With each of the option, there is a corresponding link which users can click to get more understanding about that particular spam. For those who might be worried whether their website is violating any guidelines or not can also now go and read the help section and improve their websites.
  • There is a customized thank you page having multiple options. It tells the users what happens to the spam website they submitted. It also provides an option to report more spams and gives information on how one can block certain websites from appearing in their personalized search results.

It is a good initiative to keep the search indexes clean and healthy, but it also now creates new implications on webmasters in terms of improving the quality of their websites. If reported to Google, they can find themselves in deep trouble. Time for everyone to clean their websites and not be part of the spam activities.

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