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Gary Flake, to MSFT

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Gary FlakeI’ve pinged Gary and asked if he’ll give Searchblog an interview, I’ve known him for a while, since about 2002 when I started working on the book idea. Gary was chief scientist at Overture, then head of research at Yahoo. This is a major coup for MSFT, certainly. I’m eager to find out what really behind the move. Was it a lack of interesting stuff to work on at Yahoo? A bad fit after the Overture integration? In any case, I hope to have more soon.

Meanwhile, the /. thread is here, MSN blog post is here. Webmasterworld thread here.

Gary’s old Yahoo home page.

Back…

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Wow. Every time I go offline for a week, it reminds me how good it is to…go offline for a week.

While I was gone, a few folks noticed my site over at fmpub.net. It’s still early, but this is the new company I have been mentioning from time to time. More on it as things develop – it’s very exciting (at least, to me…). Meantime, I’ve got a lot of catching up to do, I’ll summarize last week soon, and be back at it on Monday. Good to be back.

Taking Off….

By - April 07, 2005

BahamasSearchblog will be on vacation through next Friday. I’m taking the family (it’s my kids Spring Break) and heading to…the Carribean! A much needed break before redoubling my efforts in the Internet space…

Keyword Prices Up

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Fathom’s keyword price index is up last month. MediaPost:

PRICES FOR PAID SEARCH LISTINGS rebounded in March, rising 9 percent to an average of $1.75 a click, according to the most recent Fathom Online Keyword Price Index, released today.

The average cost of keywords–which had fallen during the first two months of the year, after rising steadily from September through the holidays–now exceeds last December’s $1.70 by about 3 percent. Matt McMahon, Fathom Online’s executive vice president-corporate development, attributed the upswing in keyword pricing to seasonal shifts in ad spending.

Type in AIG, Get Spitzer

By - April 06, 2005

SpitzerHe’s running on his record….Apparently gubernatorial candidate and noted white collar crimebuster Elliot Spitzer bought AdWords for “AIG” on Google (he busted them while on watch as NY Atty Gen), but when I tried it, I got an ad for “shortgoogle.com.” Huh.

Care About Your Privacy?

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Patriot Comic-1

Then read this piece over at Cnet on the Patriot Act. A trickle of information is coming out on how our Govt is using Patriot, as some sections of the law are up for renewal. I’ve written about the Patriot Act in my book as it relates to search, and it’s kind of heavy sledding to get to the conclusions which might just be a bit concerning. But here’s the drift: If you keep a search history (as I do at Yahoo, A9, and most likely other places I am unaware of), the privacy of that record from Government prying without notice is not presumed anymore. The same goes for any ISP you might use – from Comcast to AOL. As we go from the ephemeral to the eternal, it’s best to keep that in mind. From the piece:

Section 215 “has only been used to obtain driver’s license records, public accommodations records, apartment-leasing records, credit card records, and subscriber information” maintained by telephone companies or Internet providers, the Justice Department said Tuesday. “The department has not obtained a section 215 order for library or bookstore records, medical records, or gun sale records.”

Did ya get that? “‘subscriber information’ maintained by telephone companies or Internet providers.”

The law does not require that you be a suspect, and it provides for secret searches without notification. Does that worry me? Yes, because power festers without the disinfectant of sunlight.

Google Keyhole Integration Update

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CommuteI was going to write up more on Google Maps and its integration of Keyhole, but to see its power, just read this entry from Don Park.

I spoke to John Hanke, the CEO of Keyhole and now GM of the unit within Google. His vision early on was to see his product in the hands of millions of people. I think he’s succeeded. I used Google Maps/Keyhole to “walk” up Mount Tam last night. It’s just really cool. And it brings a new view of the world into our lives, one I am sure will be enriched by layers of metadata – traffic information, rainfall stats, historical data, user tagged information of all sorts (“Click here to see my Flickr gallery from this vista”) etc. Cool. Very cool. But…will it be open? For now, this world is closed to Google, and only Google can determine what data will be layered on top of it. But imagine if the company opened up an API to it? Now that would be Not Evil.

Update: No sooner did I post this than I saw Memorymap, a Flickr/Google Maps mashup. Cool (and thanks, Kevin). And MyGmaps! (Thanks, Philipp)