free html hit counter The Week That Was | John Battelle's Search Blog

The Week That Was

By - February 26, 2005

Take a week off, a lot of things happen. Here’s a round up of the news that was.

Lots of folks arguing that Google’s new version of its toolbar (covered here) is an unwarranted intrusion on the rights of site owners and/or users. Dan Gillmor covers it here, SEW here. Myself, I think it’s just another feature, and if you don’t want it, don’t use it. I like the idea of control, and agree that ideally a toolbar user could toggle it on or off. But in the end, if it’s useful, it’ll take. If it isn’t, it won’t.

In lighter news, Lycos announced a dating search application. Can’t find a date? Use a search engine.

JupiterMedia restates the obvious, with gusto, in a new report about vertical search: “JupiterResearch, a division of Jupitermedia Corporation (Nasdaq: JUPM), today projected in its newly released report, “Vertical Search: Early Marketers Will Reap Rewards of Low Pricing,” that the search industry will develop in much the same way historical media markets before it have, with the broad-based search engines spawning a raft of vertical search engines dedicated to specific categories. ”

Google announced a new movie showtimes search feature.

AOL announced a new local search solution. This feature is for both AOL and web users, and points a major trend for AOL toward embracing the open web, as I have written in the past.

Remember job scraping search engine Indeed.com? It’s got competition: Workzoo.com.

And lastly, it was not a great week for net stocks, search in particular. GOOG went down on some analyst skepticism, as did Yahoo.

I had a great time down in LA with my kids, and even got some business done to boot – LA is very much in the search/media/technology nexus. More on that as I dig out.


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10 thoughts on “The Week That Was

  1. Michael Wilson says:

    Re: Google, I agree 150%. If you don’t like it, then don’t use the toolbar, or use another search engine until they give you opt-in, opt-out, whatever.

    Even IF it’s being used to drive advertising, so what? Most users will recognize that they’re getting advertising along with the results, and will make their own choices when that happens (put in an ad-blocker, ignore them, or, gasp, benefit from them).

    I think that 99% of the users don’t buy into the hysteria swirling around this feature and probably find it just plain useful.

    If we want hysteria, what about the people who believe THEY can tell Google, an independant company, what they can and can’t do? That’s actually much scarier than Google introducing a feature which I can to use, or not, on my own.

  2. rmf says:

    “ideally a toolbar user cuold toggle it on or off”

    You have to click a button to turn it on for a given page, and you can choose an option to make it disappear from the bar.

  3. John Mather says:

    If this were just about the user (person browsing) or a business’ “right” to do business then you are right. But it’s not. The criticism focuses on the author of the content of the web site. See this post for some examples:http://maurus.net/archives/2005/02/26/every-bad-idea/. Of course some of the reaction has an element of hyperbole.

    You are trying to frame the argument too narrowly. Take it beyond a Google customer trying to sell their consumer goods. Go the next step: to politics, or philosophy, or dare I say copyrights? Use other analogies like inserting content into books or songs or movies without the content creator’s consent.

    This is a much greater issue to be discussed and debated, not dismissed as a minor extension of what is already happening: Can it be stopped? Should it be stopped? If you see content on a page can you be sure it is what the author wanted. Does an author have control over their own content.

    Frankly this concept will be sold like all the other social engineering that commerce has brought to the web. Google, “We’re the good guys. We’re here to help you get what our algorithms say you want.” Superficially that may be true. But it also changes what people want by limiting the choices they so see easily.

    I see you use Google ads. Bet you get paid, right? Well now Google can put ads on your pages without you even knowing it. With the Toolbar Google doesn’t need your money. Or maybe they put ads on pages in your site that advertise something you hate. What you gonna do?

    As with progress in ALL technologies it is better to debate the issues before the de facto market place (the big dogs) make decision for us. You response feels more like a dismissal than a point of debate.

  4. Dave Winer says:

    Or flip it around. “What if a larger company, say Microsoft, without asking for permission, offered Google searches to its users without Google’s ads, or even better, with more informative ads, chosen by Microsoft? I assume Google would think this is okay because hey, it’s the user’s content to remix as he or she wants to, right?”

  5. TDavid says:

    As a user, John, I totally agree. As a webmaster I totally disagree. But fortunately we can throw up code to defeat this abortion from Google. Hands down their stupidest business move yet.

  6. What disturbs me most about this is that these guys seriously believe they have the right to tell me how to read their page. Google is empowering the users of websites, just like popup blockers, spyware defeaters and other ‘consumer’ friendly tools. What’s next, banning popup blockers from your websites? Screen Readers?

    I don’t use IE so I can’t benefit from this great feature, but if a release comes out for firefox or safari I’ll be all over it. And if I come across sites which disable this feature, I’ll release yet-more javascript that re-enables it.

  7. nick sweeney says:

    “What if—“

    Come back to us when that happens, Dave.

    And come back when you’ve called out the authors of Firefox extensions and personal rewriting proxies (Squid, Proxomitron, etc) that have munged content in nigh-on identical ways for quite a while. Heck, others have pointed out SalonHerringWiredFool.com…

  8. I noticed the post that spoke about Indeed.com and Workzoo.com. Interesting timing. I just launched a site (on Feb. 4, 2005) called Work.com. It’s a similar concept to the two however the big differentiator on the jobseeker side is that we go DIRECT to the hiring company’s corporate career page. We’ll be issuing a press release in the next few weeks, but I thought I’d give you a preview.

  9. David Sims says:

    I don’t agree with you on the Autolink feature–here’s why–thanks for allowing me to contribute my thoughts (and sorry they’re so long):

    So much has been discussed about Google

  10. Jeff Tokarz says:

    Indeed and Workzoo are wonderful sites … clearly, offering job seekers an alternative to traditional job board search. Here, too, jobs.Just-Posted (http://www.jobs.just-posted.com) and schools.Just-Posted (http://schools.just-posted.com) deserve mention. They are vertical search engines that instantly deliver revelant search results via browser and email. Go Vertical. Go mSEARCH!

    Jeff Tokarz
    CEO / President
    Just-Posted
    http://jobs.Just-Posted.com
    http://schools.Just-Posted.com