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News: A9 Debuts "Yellow Pages" – Now *That's* Local

By - January 26, 2005

New YorkA9 has debuted a neat new local search product today, which I am covering for Business 2.0 (the actual story will post shortly, this link is to a blog entry about the story on B 2’s blog). This is a big deal for A9, and for Amazon – a blending of search and commerce models that has some interesting implications. Excerpt:

In short, Manber and co. (urged on by Jeff Bezos, who Manber says was “very involved”) strapped GPS-enabled digital video camera-cum-terabyte server rigs to the top of a bunch of SUVs, then drove them around the commercial areas of major US metropolitan areas, recording what then became composite still pictures of entire cities, one address at a time. A9 took more than 20 million images of 14 million+ businesses across ten cities (more are coming soon), then created a local search application they call Block View.

UPDATE: Here’s the actual story I wrote….

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Is Google Image Search Updating?

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Thomas Hawk wonders.

Now I know that Google was criticized a while back regarding the staleness of their images and that an upgrade was promised but I’d yet to see anything official announced. Over the past two weeks the traffic being driven to my site from Google’s Image Search has continued to grow and (if you combine their various international sites) Google Image Search has now become my top referring entity to thomashawk.com……

…If I do a search for “rain” under large images, my photo titled “San Francisco Rain” (see below) is on the first page of over 270,000 large images of “rain.” Wow, how did I get so lucky? Is it because the picture is actually pretty good as I’d like to believe? Is someone manually reviewing and ranking images at Google? Or is it because I publish using blogger or that I upload my photos to the internet using Hello Picasa (both Google properties)?

UPDATE: Reader Miguel Cuesta shows that Google Image has been updated – it now has Abu Gharib images, the source of the original posting on how stale the image index had gotten.

Googler Blogs, Then UnBlogs – Updated

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BlognotfoundVia GB’d: Hmmm. Check this out. Philipp found a Google employee who was posting openly about Google, and has some excerpts from the posts on his site. Am getting smart on this but…Seems a fellow started at Google, starting blogging about Google, said some not so nice things and probably violated internal policies to boot, and then quickly blanked his posts. This is his site (ninetyninezeroes – get it?). Empty, for the most part. And no Google cache or URL info. Clearly his site is not in Google’s index – I searched for some of the strings in the text Phillip has on his site, not there. His site is on Blogger, and had been up long enough for Google to index it, certainly. So, it seems, the site has been taken out manually, something Google claims to never do.

However, I did find it in Yahoo’s cache.



And here is even more – including a discourse on Google’s benefits, and an overview of a Google party at last week’s sales conference in SF. Highlights:

“google demands employees that are 90th percentile material, so what’s with the 50th percentile compensation? the packages would’ve been decent when the company was pre-IPO, but let’s be honest here… a stock option with a strike price of $188 just doesn’t have the same value as the ones of yesteryear. even microsoft adjusted their base salaries to 66th percentile years ago when it was clear that their stock options weren’t as much a part of the total compensation package as it used to be. for a post-IPO company like google, it only seems fair that they adjust things accordingly.”

“i must say, 1500+ sales people getting drunk at a company sponsored party feels remarkably like a frat party.”

I am trying to confirm this guy actually worked at Google, and that this is not some elaborate hoax…the fact that it’s not in Google’s index certainly indicates something is up…

So I do wonder. How is it that Yahoo has it indexed, and Google does not? I’m asking. More when/if I hear more.

UPDATE: The fellow is for real, I am told by Google. Awaiting further explication on the index issue…it’d be relatively simple to test how quickly a normal blogger blog is indexed by Google….

UDPATE 2: A Google source on good authority tells me A/This was a new employee who violated some internal legal and financial policies (in his original post he talked about financial information and hinted at cool products coming up), B/He was called on it by Google management, and reacted by instantly taking down his posts and C/After sleeping on it, folks at Google sat down with him and agreed that he would take some of the more sensitive stuff out and then repost his musings. I’m told a side by side comparison of before and after exists somewhere out there on the web, but I have not found it….As for D/ whether or not Google actually pulled him from the cache or the index, the answer from Google is a definitive no, Google says that in fact their bot simply had not found the site, which had few to no inbound links – not an easy admission certainly, but one that I will take at face value. If anyone has any data about how quickly the average blog is found by indices, I’d be interested. I’m also curious how Yahoo found it so quickly. In any case, the site sure has juice now, and both the original post, as well as the new one and all the commentary, will be in the amber of the index forevermore.

Quick Update

By - January 25, 2005

My, it’s a busy time in the search biz. I’m still in Europe and the schedule is quite demanding here, so my postings will be light. I will have some news tonight, and hope to get to a longer analysis of video search shortly. Meantime, much buzz about this Sci Am article…thanks to the many readers who have pinged me asking where the hell I am…

Google Video Search

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GoovidI was briefed on this last week, and will have a longer report later today. Suffice to say, Google Video Search launched today. It’s quite distinct from Yahoo and other’s approach….

Coverage here.

BTW, Yahoo Video Search beta is now on the home page. I am sure this had nothing to do with the Google news….

Google Voice

By - January 24, 2005

It’s all over the web today. Look, I was the one to pooh pooh GMail on April 1st, so I’ll stay away from saying this is ridiculous speculation.

adMarketplace: Another Bite at The Advertising Apple

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I’ve been meaning to write about adMarketplace, a new advertising service, ever since I spoke to its CEO a month or so ago. But I wanted to try it out for myself first, much as I have AdBrite (the network you see on the right over there, which by the way announced (sub req’d) its funding from Sequoia Capital today). I haven’t had the time to do that yet, though I certainly intend to shortly. In any case, today adMarketplace announced an interesting affiliate program that allows publishers to earn revenue for introducing advertisers into the network – if you, as a publisher, are responsible for getting an advertiser signed up, you get a piece of that advertiser’s revenue across the network, even if the ads are not on your site. An interesting idea and one that feels like a step toward my Publisher Driven (nee Sell Side) Advertising model.

AdMarketplace is the company behind eBay’s ad market, a background which serves as both an endorsement and a limitation, when it debuted last year, reviews were mixed. Jim Walton of adMarketplace tells me that it is his intention to quickly grow his network, and he hopes to implement a self service sign up a la AdSense shortly. More when I actually find the time to grok the system, probably later in Feb.

PS – In Davos now, jetlagged but happy to be in the snow…

The Week Ahead

By - January 23, 2005

WefA quick heads up – the coming week promises to be a big one in the world of search, if the birds flying around my in box are any indication. However, I am away the entire week in Europe, so posting might be light (I’m told there will be WiFi where I will be, but you never know…). In case any readers might also be there, I’ll be at the World Economic Forum in Davos. This is my second trip there – I first went in 2001, but couldn’t afford it over the past few years. This year they have been kind enough to extend me a pass, and I will be posting as I can. On the first day a group of “Young Global Leaders” (how they come up with these names…) will be at a meeting “aimed at establishing a framework for understanding the problems and risks we face in the coming decades and beyond.” I am honored to be one of them, though a bit baffled how it all came about.

The WEF has a blog, as well, though for more personal coverage, you might watch Loic LeMeur’s.