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Yahoo Launches MyWeb Beta

By - April 27, 2005

MywebMan, the pace of announcements is starting to feel overwhelming in the search space. Yahoo today is launching its MyWeb beta, an amalgam and update of many of its personalization features into one service. Yahoo calls it a “personal search engine, ” it features improved search history, robust sharing and annotation features, integration with Yahoo 360, and API support. I have not had time to play with it, but I am looking forward to using it.

We’re certainly in something of an arms race now, with Google and Yahoo the main perpetrators, and MSN playing catch up to boot. Is this good for the consumer of search and internet services? Surely in the long term, but I worry that the relentless stream of new features and services will start to deaden interest in the space.

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Also: Google Ads Are Coming to RSS

By - April 26, 2005

Says Scoble. From a Longhorn blog he points to:

Q: What is Google doing?

A: I can’t talk a whole lot about this yet. I can tell you that this is a pilot program for a new AdSense product that Google is looking into. Like all of their tests, it may disappear for a while, or be discontinued altogether.

Q: Is anyone else currently testing this technology?

A: No. Right now LonghornBlogs.com is the only site running this test. That will probably change in the next few days as their other alpha testers bring their systems online, but for now, we’re it.

Q: How are you putting ads in the feeds?

A: I can’t talk at all about implementation yet, because the system is not finalized. It’s just a test to determine how well the current thought process works, the performance bottlenecks, and to discover any barriers to others using it. I CAN tell you that it isn’t using Javascript.

Q: When can I start putting ads in MY feeds?

A: IF Google decides to launch this product, you can expect to see a wider public beta in the next few weeks.

Google Image Ads: The Wide SkyScraper and Other Units

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GoogunitsIn case any of you were wondering what the specs are for Google’s new CPM-based image ads, here they are:

We will show the following ad sizes (see examples) on content sites in the Google Network:

* Banner: 468 x 60

* Leaderboard: 728 x 90

* Inline Rectangle: 300 x 250

* Skyscraper: 120 x 600

* Wide Skyscraper: 160 x 600

hat tip: Gary.

Findory Redesigns

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FdoryI’ve started using Findory, finally, so as to grok Greg Linden’s well-received service. Findory is a personalized newsservice that watches what you read and adapts what it shows you accordingly. It features blog search and loads of news feeds. This week Greg redesigned the site, his release is here. In it he notes that Findory is growing quickly (traffic doubling every three months) and has crossed a million page views a month. I’ll be playing with it over the next week or so…seems like Greg’s building some traffic of good intent

TrustRank, GoogleVillage

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SEWand now /. have threads on Google’s recent trademark applications in the area of “TrustRank” and “Advertise on the Neighborhood Wide Web.” TrustRank is interesting because it may represent another approach to solving the vexing problem of spam, the NWW concept reminds us how important local is to the future of search. Gary notes that Google owns the domain “GoogleVillage.com.”

Open Media Network Launches

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OmnMike Homer, of Netscape and now Kontiki, and Marc Andreessen, of Netscape and now Opsware, have launched the Open Media Network, a free platform for the storage and distribution of public video and audio content. I spoke to Homer about the new network, which uses Kontiki’s video serving system on the back end. The system is a mashup of sorts between Tivo and BitTorrent – it has a well considered interface and employes a secure P2P network for file distribution (it doesn’t actually use Tivo or BitTorrent technology). Homer has seeded OMN with public TV content, podcasts, and more, but the service is free for anyone to use, and includes a Force of Many recommendation and filtering system. This is similar to OurMedia.org and Google’s recently launched video project, but this has a slicker implementation (well, so far Google does not have an implementation!).

The system is not yet fully functional, but Homer seems dead serious about making it so. So is this just a publicity play for Kontiki? Perhaps, but it’s an audacious (and expensive) one if so. And OMN is not without a business model, despite its non profit status – Homer plans to incorporate a payment system and keep a small percentage of the revenues to cover operational costs.

Chronicle, Cnet coverage.

Another Social Network Search Play

By - April 25, 2005

MplyNew, interesting engines are coming fast and furious, here’s Multiply’s launch. Main play: social network search.

Doubleclick Goes Private

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DoubleclCoincidence that Google announces its CPM/image play today? Yes, but one hell of one. From Reuters:

Internet marketing company DoubleClick Inc. (DCLK.O: Quote, Profile, Research) said on Monday that it agreed to be acquired by San Francisco buyout firm Hellman & Friedman LLC for roughly $1.1 billion.

…..

“It’s a fair valuation, given the company’s outlook,” said Janco Partners Inc. analyst Martin Pyykkonen. “There’s a feeling that general ad serving is somewhat of a commodity business.”

Google Moves Into Branding Business

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AdwordsupdateGoogle announced today a “limited beta” for AdWords/AdSense that pretty much declares Google’s intentions in the advertising business: The company is going to compete with everyone, on every front. The beta will be taken off in the “coming weeks” Patrick Keane, head of ad sales strategy at Google, told me late last week.

The new program allows advertisers to select where their ads might run and, just as importantly, let advertisers run image ads, a feature that has been in testing, but never as a CPM buy. Advertisers can also run animated gifs.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is Google as DoubleClick, Web 2.0 style (ie with an auction and with massive scale). Any pretense this has to do with search should be put to rest. This is an advertising play, pure and simple.

This move also shows Google is growing up, acting more like a business with its own agenda, as opposed to a engineering-driven playground where the coolest idea wins.

The Merc reports.

Update: I now see the Times piece. Well, it sure makes me out as anti-Google. I did say everything that I am quoted to say, however the context is off on the first section. I am quoted as saying:

“This drives the nail into the coffin of the idea that Google is a search business,” said John Battelle, the author of a coming book on Google called “The Search.”

“It is an advertising business that has nothing particularly to do with search.”

In fact, I was speaking of the new AdSense features, not all of Google, when I said that last bit. Just to be clear. Even the Times can miss context.

Update: Apparently, I was not clear in my conversation with Saul, he responds in the comments below. In any case, he got the quotes right. I should have been clearer in my intent – that in the case of this new move, it’s all about ads, and has nothing to do with search.