Blekko – the future of the search engine or just another Google competitor?

November 3, 2010

Blekko is a search engine (in beta at the moment) that claims that it is a better way to search the web by using slashtags. Slashtags search only the sites you want and cut out the spam sites. e.g. if you only want to search for tech related stuff you put /tech after your query

The slashtags are user generated and can be either private or public. There are already hundreds of them, but you can also create your own.

But the CEO explains it a bit better in this video:

blekko: how to slash the web from blekko on Vimeo.

 

Another cool feature is the SEO link that you get with every single result

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It gives you quite a substantial amount of information about your site, like inbound links, hostrank, crawl stats, site pages, you can compare your site to other sites and it tells you about duplicate content

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There is also a SPAM link next to all your search result and you can get rid of searches you don’t want permanently – that search result will be dead to you.

Another interesting feature is the visualizing feature – here you can compare up to 4 different URLs with each other

 

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Definitely a great idea and even though there are still some shortcomings blekko will be someone to watch out for. It is going to be big.

check it out: http://blekko.com

and let me know what you think in the comments

 

@maniac13


Bing Sees Growth in Australia

October 14, 2009

bingAn 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:

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/business/story/0,,26195446-7582,00.html


For people that don’t know how to use Photoshop

October 8, 2009

A group of researchers have put together a system called PhotoSketch which allows the user to literally sketch a desired scene, label each part of the scene with keywords, then PhotoSketch searches the web for photos and assembles a photographic version of the sketch.

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Real or fake? I don’t know but the creators have released the source code (Windows only) and presented a paper at SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 on the technology.

check out the video:

found here


Google is Now Hazardous to my Computer

February 1, 2009

Obviously another attempt from Google to improve search results to save my computer from dangerous sites. This incident occured around 2:15am on Saturday and effected all searches.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

iGoogle attacked by giant widgets

October 17, 2008

Google’s personalized home page, iGoogle, is getting an update this Friday. Widgets on the page can support a new “canvas view,” which expands the widget to the full iGoogle window.

The new iGoogle also moves user navigation from tabs at the top of the page to a bar down the left side. This enables more pages and elements in the navigation, and I found that it made navigating iGoogle faster, since it provided a de facto table of contents for each page.

Like many of Google’s services, iGoogle is platform-aware. On a mobile phone, like on an iPhone or Android phone, when you log in to iGoogle, you’ll get a view of your page suited to the constraints of the device.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

An Audi R8 image PR nightmare in Google

August 4, 2008

This is a classic example of things going wrong for a brand. I just watched a Top Gear clip of the Audi R8 which inspired me to do a quick search in Google for “r8″…

Oh dear… it’s an SEO (Search engine optimisation) branding nightmare – the first image that jumps up is a burnt out Audi R8. Given that around 97% of car purchases now involve some online research, this is not what you want people to see straight up.

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The unfortunate Audi R8 image that would send shivers down the Audi marketing team’s spines…
 
So what do you do when Image Search Results go bad?
Here’s some small tips for a healthy life in the chaotic land of Search / SEO:
1. Listen | Observe – this means keeping an eye on what’s coming up in your search results. If you don’t know about it, you can’t fix it.
2. Play a role in the community especially the blogosphere – make sure high ranking sites carry correctly named/tagged images that will index in search. Know the bloggers that influence your results.
3. Optimise your own site as much as possible for images, meta data and other techniques. There are many companies (including ours, plug plug) that can help with this.
4. SEM – Make sure your search engine marketing is in place (in the instance above I did not receive any SEM ads whatsoever.
5. Run a Digital PR campaign. There are various creative techniques which could encourage a large amount of people to get involved with images that are positive for your brand.
6. Provide assets to the masses. Allow users to take your images (the ones you want seen) and distribute freely.
7. Use the social networks. Nothing stopping brands playing a role in the community in an open transparent manner.
8. Create an official Blog. A properly maintained, healthy blog by a brand can do wonders in search. Bear in  mind a blog needs to work (have great content, audience participation and avoid the corporate BS).
9. Talk to Google. Whilst they’re not going to change their indexing algorithms they are a helpful and good natured company and may be able to offer advice.
10. Talk to the site which houses the bad image/content. They may be quite happy to run another more positive story to help, without compromising or asking them to delete their original content. (Avoid censorship – that would be a big no-no).

Unfortunately bad news is big news. If a big ranking site pushes something you don’t like in Search, the only surefire method is to outgun that site in the digital space …and this is a time consuming game.

The lowdown for brands to prevent a search disaster:
Make sure you have a digital strategy, an SEO / SEM strategy, the assets to make it work, a team that is watching …and get it in place as early as possible.


Cuil – a Google Beater? In review:

July 29, 2008

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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.

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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.

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Bugs aside, there are a couple of nice features with Cuil like the widget below which breaks down categories.

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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.

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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.