Link:Google continues to be the biggest search engine in the US with a 50% share of all US searches conducted in April. Yahoo! has 22% and MSN 11%. However, it's not bringing much of a smile to Google's face at the moment, given that their performance in other areas isn't actually that great.
When we look at social networking tools, with the exception of Blogger, Google is no-where to be found. Google groups? People like Yahoo. Videos? People go to YouTube. Most popular 'set' of websites - Yahoo! with a 105 million audience. Google comes in at #4 with 92 million. What's happened to Google products like Google base? The Google calendar appears to have pretty much sunk without a ripple on the water. Gmail is great, but after the initial flurry of interest, which pushed Hotmail into increasing it's functionality it's settled down and is still trying to play catchup.
There's no doubt that Google IS dominant in search, and anyone who says differently is nuts, but in other areas I think Google is really struggling to try and make an impact.
Link: Podcast lectures for uni students. Item from the BBC all about a Professor who has dumped the idea of 1 hour lectures to 250+ students. Students will listen to the podcast and post questions to his weblog where they'll get answered. I'm not sure if he's going to end up with more or less work as a result though!
Link: Privacy worries over web's future. An item over at the BBC, reporting on the WWW2006 conference in Edinburgh is looking at the dangers of the semantic web combining multiple sources of information about people and places. Clearly this is an issue, and it's one that I've spoken about a lot in the past. It's also not one for the future either, it's already happening. If you use a search engine, particularly if you are using personalisation it already knows a lot about what you're interested in; it has to, in order to serve you up data that is relevant and appropriate to your needs. As search engines expand their capabilities this problem will simply increase, and people will need to balance out their need for speed and accurate data with their desire for privacy. How much do search engines know about you already (probably more than you think), and how much are you prepared to tell them in the future in return for a more streamlined search service?
Interesting article at: O'Reilly Radar > Controversy about our "Web 2.0" service mark. regarding their ownership of the term Web 2.0 when it relates to conferences. They sent a cease and desist order to IT@Cork which is holding a Web 2.0 conference. CMP (which co-produce the Web 2.0 conference) has a pending application for the registration of Web 2.0 as a service mark for live shows, business conferences and educational conferences in order to protect the brand. They have now agreed (after all the fuss kicked off) That IT@Cork can use the name this year. So, if you're thinking of holding a conference with the phrase Web 2.0 conference in there, you might want to think again.
I can kind of see their point, because if they want to protect their Web 2.0 Conference they don't want to see it being diluted with the phrase being used elsewhere. Quite frankly though, with the term being used just about everywhere, I doubt that they've got a snowball's chance in the long run. I suspect that this one may just backfire on them a little.
I'm delighted to be able to tell you that I'm joining SearchEngineWatch as a search engine correspondent. I've always been impressed with SearchEngineWatch and the team there; the level and quality of output is always of the highest level. I'll continue to write in my own weblog of course, and perhaps link stuff back and forth. Should be lots of fun!
I've been playing around with a few of the local map and aerial features of Ask.com Windows Live Local and Google Maps recently. I'm a simple guy with simple needs - I'd just like to see my house. I don't live in London - I'm out in the sticks, so wanted to see what the 3 services could provide me with. Ask wasn't very impressive - it didn't go into very much resolution at all, though it was slightly better than the Google offering. Google was much quicker than Ask to not show me very much though - the refresh rate with the Ask offering was akin to twiddling my thumbs when I was on a dial up connection many years ago. However, the Windows Live Local was excellent, and it beat the other two into no-where - I could magnify the view to the extent that I could distinguish my car, let alone my house. It's a clear winner, so hopefully the other two can play catch-up with Microsoft for once.
I found Tiltomo from Chris Sherman's article Searching for Images by Similarity. It's a fun way to find similar images. Type in a tag, view the results, and then refine by finding similar by theme or colour/texture. It's limited to Flickr, but it's useful if you're looking for a bunch of images of sky, or sunset for example.
Link: Link Worth Calculator - Text Link Ads. This is a splendid little tool. Basically you put in your URL, the category of the page, the number of text links you want to sell, and the position of the link, and this resource comes back and tells you how much you could expect to get for the link. This is worked out by looking at your traffic, inbound links, theme and so on. It's very helpful if you're considering selling links on your site.
Link: IOL: Internet searches: librarians do it better. Well, this comes as no surprise. It's a report on a study reported at the MLA meeting regarding users finding information about their medical conditions, and the amount they found going it alone or asking a librarian. It's summed up as follows:
"If people want to gain an in-depth understanding of their condition or they have a complex question, it is wise to enlist the help of a professional librarian"