December 19, 2011
*Quick pop quiz…
1. How many hours of video were uploaded to YouTube in 2010?
2. What percentage of smartphone owners, use their device while shopping?
3. What Australian state most frequently searches for the weather forecast?
As a planner, I’m always chasing that one research tool to bring them all together, and while Think Insights with Google attempts to do just that, it does fall short in a few areas. It’s missing the core search functionality that is the cornerstone of Google’s business. After all, the nirvana of a planner research tool would provide just that, a simple way to intelligently search and prioritise, facts, stats and behavioural trends based on a simple question, such as: ‘How many Australian’s use their laptop in the kitchen while cooking?’
On the flip side, this is a good resource if you are looking for general information on search and mobile related topics, particularly for Google brand related products. And, it does include over 100 custom reports, so you can certainly pop it on the list of go-to resources for all things digital.
My personal favourite resources on the site are: Our Mobile Planet tool (though the data is a little shady for the emerging markets such as India and China) and the Research Library finder.
Ultimately, Think Insights with Google is the perfect tool for media planners, and a useful resource for digital strategists too. Despite it’s downfalls it is one of the best free resources that I have found.
1. 13 million hours
June 29, 2011
I am sure many of you might have already seen this today, but Google has launched a new looking home page, it is not another Google test. The new look home page which now includes a fancy grey stripe at the top, a smaller logo and the links moved to the bottom of the browser was introduced to streamline the experience across multiple devices such as the tablet and the mobile. It continues to focus on three core design principles: Focus, Elasticity and effortlessness.
They are continuing to make changes over the coming months with a noticeable change to the search engine results page (SERP). See below. Display URLs will be moved up under the headline, whilst it seems they are changing the colour on the left navigational menu (grey and red) and introducing a slight grey box across the search bar. I also noticed that the tiny blue line on the top navigational bar has changed to a tiny red line, could this mean Google is moving towards a dominate red and grey themed page, instead of the blue?
I personally like the new look, however, not everyone will be a fan.
January 4, 2010
One of my less exciting daily digital pastimes is keeping an on expired .com.au domain names. Today I noticed that one of the domains that just became available on 01/01/2010 was www.gruentransfer.com.au. So it appears this might be the end for that particular URL (unless somebody forgot to renew it). So what does that mean for the show and a third season? Read on before you jump to conclusions…
Below: The URL… www.gruentransfer.com.au nothing to see here.
Why abandon a URL?
Firstly, there is no obvious record that the ABC actually owned this domain in the first place or that it was actively used. In the instance of The Gruen Transfer, the primary URL for the show is a subdirectory off the ABC website (here) but in my experience it’s usually a good strategy to keep relevant domain names in the back pocket no matter what. Most often, the excuse given for letting a domain lapse is “we weren’t using it” but there are a few reasons for keeping URLs which relate directly to something that is active even if it is not the primary domain such as protecting intellectual property and to form a part of an SEO/SEM and Link strategy. In addition digital consumers are known to occasionally go for a direct punt on a url into the browser address bar so a DNS redirect or meta refresh is an easy tactic to handle traffic from this.
Regardless of past ownership ABC should register gruentransfer.com.au and thegruentransfer.com.au. $55 for two years is a worthwhile investment for them (if the show is to continue).
Every month hundreds of .com.au URLs expire without being renewed in Australia. Here’s some stats from AuDA for 08/09 – hopefully the 2009 results will be available soon.
Note: There are several services that provide information on expired domains which can easily be found using Google or Bing:
December 10, 2009
Here’s a real world test on Google’s latest functionality – real time search results. There’s been a lot of hype over Google’s announcement that it now has ‘real time’ functionality. You can read the announcement (here). Below is Google’s promo video on how it works in case you missed it:
The real world test:
How well does it work? In the video below I’m using my Twitter account (@eunmac) to enter a tweet which contain the words GOOGLE, REAL, TIME, SEARCH. I already have a ‘real time search’ window open looking for these words and the theory is that the moment Google has indexed my tweet, it should show on-screen (no need for a refresh). The video is shot using Camtasia, and recorded/plays for as long as it took for the results to show.
It took Google 52.3 seconds to display my tweet in this instance. Not exactly “real time” but pretty good. Of course this is a one off test and the result should be taken with a pinch of salt. We’ll be evaluating speed in a more quant manner over the next few weeks.
How do I do a real time search in Google?
A couple of people have asked me how you get to the real time search results. Here’s how:
Step 1: Search for something from Google main page.
Step 2: In the Blue bar click [Show Options]
Step 3: Under the LHS menu that appears, click “Latest” under the “Any time” section.
(Alternatively – here’s one I made earlier. Just change the search term to the one you want).
Post by @eunmac
October 14, 2009
An article in the Australian reported that Bing and Yahoo are starting to see an increase in market share to take on search giant Google. This is in line with trends in the US too. Lower CPCs generating higher efficiencies are said to be helping the increase.
We’ve also see this across our Search clients, but the article doesn’t touch base on the limitations of low consumer demand on the 2 engines and the challenges faced in optimising to low conversion volumes. We’re hoping to see a greater increase in Bing/Yahoo’s share as more of the US product features are launched locally – creating a real competitor to Google’s dominance.
Yahoo (serving Bing in Australia) has also recently launched a new feature to allow advertisers to see performance on their Premium Network (Bing/Yahoo) and Standard Networks. This will drive efficiency through greater targeting controls.
Full Article here:
August 3, 2009
Jeremy’s winning photo is the face of Bing today. Congratulations, Mr Somers!
Check it out today only: www.bing.com
Read more about how it got here: https://amnesiablog.wordpress.com/2009/07/24/vote-for-jeremys-photo-in-the-bing-summer-travel-photo-contest/
July 24, 2009
Man of many talents, jack of all trades, our very own Captain Creative, Jeremy is in the running to win a Bing home page photo contest.
Help him get there by voting and see this amazing lightning shot grace the front of Bing.
Do it now!!! 🙂
July 31, 2008
Yahoo, not willing to stand idle which their newest competitor, Cuil, got savaged by negative press in its first week, have used the occasion to promote their new search API with Yuil – a search engine that, frankly, does a much better job.
Created by Yahoo’s VP of Platforms, Sam Pullara, Yuil used Yahoo’s new BOSS API which allows developers to create custom, highly configurable, Yahoo-powered search engines.
Not willing to indulge in too much schadenfreude, Yahoo have taken down the site and redirected it to Sam’s blog.
Touché, Yahoo. Touché.
Full story via TechCrunch
July 29, 2008
It’s one of those head turning stories : A bunch of ex-Google employees run off and make their own search engine ready to beat Google at their own game. A tough gig by all accounts. The key differentiator – they don’t hold any of your information. The pitch being that Google is holding too much of your personal data – they don’t and won’t. They claim to have indexed more web pages than Google and a technical setup to rival the giants.
One important factor may be the URL. It’s two letters shorter (this is a good move) but I suspect that by trying to be ‘cool’ with the literal name Cuil the brand is a little to broad to become the vernacular for Search. “I’m going to Cuil for that” just doesn’t do the same job as “I’ll Google that” – as is the case with “Live Search” which is simply too generic for consumers to adopt as a verb. I suspect a brand name that could replace the Google “verb” may have been a better brand strategy.
OK, into the product itself – Now first impression counts, and the screen shown here is not a good start. We all encountered different errors at different times. OK these are likely just teething issues but probably not the best start. Google’s consistency has been one of it’s strongest assets – it rarely lets users down even though both Yahoo and Live Search both offer some pretty good features.
Now I did find some strange things happening with the indexing. Typing Wii shows a very strange result as did a fair few other queries I tried. We’ve asked them to look into an issue on one of our sites so it will be interesting to hear what they come back with.
Bugs aside, there are a couple of nice features with Cuil like the widget below which breaks down categories.
Cuil also lets you choose between 2 or 3 column layout. Nice to see something different but to be honest I would have preferred to see the additional option of the ‘infinite scrolling page’ here as Live Search offers with it’s image searching – something it does beat Google on in my opinion.
Of course the underlying need to sell advertising impressions becomes an issue with these interfaces because page refreshing = more ads served.
Is three better than one?
So we’ll keep an eye on Cuil ongoing. All new things are good in the digital landscape so I think this is a welcome addition to the search wars. Will I use it as my default engine? No, but I’ll keep experimenting and time will tell.
July 1, 2008
This has been a long time coming!
Adobe is release technology to Google and Yahoo! that is going to allow both search engines to index content in Flash sites.
The engine “acts like a virtual user going through each application”. What it sees is then broken down to something the search robots can understand, making the huge amount of content in Flash-based sites visible to search engines.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has always been a challenge for Flash sites and often the temptation is to deliver something flatter that will be better indexed by search engines rather than a richer experience.
Check out the full story at TechCrunch
April 30, 2008
What is Google’s Double Serving Ad Policy?
Google’s Double Serving Ad Policy was designed to monitor the landing pages of affiliates, partners and dealers to ensure that there is a good customer experience and added value from landing page to landing page – even when everyone involved is selling the same basic thing. Google has always been concerned with the best possible user experience, so this policy comes as no surprise. Everything is viewed from the eyes of a searcher that does not understand the relationships between Company A and their partners. If from the searcher’s view there are 5 ads on a page that all appear to be Company A and offer the same basic thing, it does not create the best user experience. In fact, it will likely create confusion.
Read the rest of this entry »
March 25, 2008
Here’s a screen shot of Safari, the Apple browser in action on a Windows PC released on Mar 18 2008. The first thing I noticed is the way fonts are rendered, even down to a small point size. Being used to IE and Firefox it all seemed a bit fuzzy to me. I looked for an option to turn font smoothing off but could only alter the intensity of anti-aliasing. Have a look at the images at the bottom of the article and compare the difference.
So which Windows Browser is fastest? Safari, Internet Explorer or Firefox?
What surprised me was the speed of Safari in several rendering tests I ran in which it outperformed the two big guns by a big margin. For this I downloaded a CSS benchmark test created by nontroppo. I then tried some script tests here from CelticKane.
Putting this into layman’s terms – a blink of the eye is roughly 50-80 ms so when you start to compare the above then you realise the time differences we’re talking about are very visible even to the untrained eye. In the real world when I visited some heavier html/css websites in Safari they seemed visibly to load faster.
Font rendering comparisons from the three browsers:
Notice the Safari rendering on the right is quite different…
So what’s the downside?
Well Firefox and IE are very well supported by the development community. Plugins like PicLens do not work yet (I tried) so basically it’s good for browsing, not much else at this stage. Having said that the speed of browsing makes it worth a look (if you can bear the fuzzy fonts).
Interestingly the default search engines include only Google and Yahoo. Hmm is the omission of Live Search a subtle poke at Microsoft?
Note: Tests were completed running on a Centrino Duo Inspiron 1720 with Vista Ultimate.