free html hit counter September 2005 - John Battelle's Search Blog

Enter the Vortex

By - September 29, 2005

I have a fantasy about the future I’ll share with you – one where all I am doing is working on FM and writing Searchblog. It’s not so far off, but right now, it feels a million miles away. I’m pretty much enveloped by Web 2.0 preparation (we closed registration and are totally sold out), book tour stuff (I go down to speak at Google – Google! – tomorrow), and what little is left over I am focusing on FM. Forgive me the lack of posts. I’ll be back, strong and refreshed, week after next.

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More On Google And Nasa

By - September 28, 2005

NanotubesIn the book I asked Eric Schmidt what was next for Google. He replied that the joke was “carbon nanotubes to the moon.”

Well, take a look at this release:

NASA Takes Google On Journey Into Space

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – September 28, 2005 – NASA Ames Research

Center, located in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley, and

Mountain View-based Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) today announced plans to

collaborate on a number of technology-focused research-and-development

activities that will couple some of Earth’s most powerful technology


NASA and Google have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that

outlines plans for cooperation on a variety of areas, including

large-scale data management, massively distributed computing,

bio-info-nano convergence, and encouragement of the entrepreneurial

space industry. The MOU also highlights plans for Google to develop up

to one million square feet within the NASA Research Park at Moffett


“Our planned partnership presents an enormous range of potential

benefits to the space program,” said NASA Ames Center Director G.

Scott Hubbard. “Just a few examples are new sensors and materials

from collaborations on bio-info-nano convergence, improved analysis of

engineering problems as well as Earth, life and space science

discoveries from supercomputing and data mining, and bringing

entrepreneurs into the space program. While our joint efforts will

benefit both organizations, the real winner will be the American

public,” he added.

“Google and NASA share a common desire-to bring a universe of

information to people around the world,” said Eric Schmidt, Google

chief executive officer. “Imagine having a wide selection of images

from the Apollo space mission at your fingertips whenever you want it.

That’s just one small example of how this collaboration could help

broaden technology’s role in making the world a better place.”

“I’m thrilled that NASA Ames Research Center and Google, two of our

region’s and our nation’s most valuable and innovative organizations,

have formed a partnership,” said Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (CA -14th


“As Silicon Valley continues to lead in developing technologies that

will guide our nation’s economy in the 21st century, partnerships

combining the best in public sector innovation with the cutting edge of

private industry will serve as the gold standard in public-private

partnerships for years to come. The technologies created by the

partnership of Google and NASA Ames not only will enable and enhance

further exploration of space, it will positively impact the daily lives

of all Americans for generations to come,” Eshoo said.

“The City of Mountain View is excited that two of our community’s most

innovative and dynamic organizations, Google and NASA Ames Research

Center, are forming a new research and development partnership at Ames.

This new collaboration will undoubtedly result in new research projects

and endeavors with tremendous potential for innovation and far-reaching

benefit,” said Mountain View Mayor Matt Neely.

Located on property at Ames Research Center, NASA Research Park is

being developed into a world-class, shared-use educational and R&D

campus. As part of a comprehensive plan for this area, new

laboratories, offices, classrooms, housing, auditoriums, museums, a

training and conference center, open space, parking and limited retail

facilities are envisioned. The plan calls for NASA to partner with

local communities, academia, private industry, non-profit organizations

and other government agencies in support of NASA’s mission to conduct

research and develop new technologies.

Google's New Digs

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The SF Chronicle has the scoop on Google creating yet another major campus (the company just moved to old SGI digs a little over a year ago).

Google Inc. is expected to announce plans today to build a 1 million-square-foot campus at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, sources familiar with the plan said Tuesday.

The Internet giant, which has been looking for expansion space during the company’s extraordinary growth spurt, plans to build offices, housing for workers, roads and infrastructure on a vacant section of the sprawling NASA facility in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Yow. It’s Googleville. Here’s Google Maps link to Nasa Ames.

RollyO Launches Beta

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Logo-Unreg-PlainThe official launch is at Web 2, but the public beta went up today, Dave Pell tells me. This is a new engine which lets your “roll your own” searches. I rolled one on search, for example. It sort of like creating your own domain specific search on the fly…

Yahoo Updates Desktop Search

By - September 27, 2005

New contextual search stuff integrated…More here…and BTW, Yahoo clarified its response to the Google index news yesterday. I misinterpreted their statement. Here’s the clarification: “The “meaningless” number we referenced is not the act of citing an index count …. it’s specifically the number Google was using on their home page.”

Andy Beal Back In Biz

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Folks who watch the inside baseball of SEO/SEM took note with Andy Beal left his job at WebSourced, it also meant we lost a great voice at his corporate blog. Then the company’s CEO left, and folks started wondering what was up. Well, I don’t have any insight into that, but Andy pinged me last night to say that he’s back, with a new business, and a new site. Looking forward to reading Andy again!

Online Ad Revs: Up Up Up

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More up and to the right news, from MediaPost coverage:

INTERNET AD REVENUES FOR THE first half of this year surged to $5.8 billion–a 26 percent increase from the same period in 2004, according to a report released by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers Monday. Online ad revenue for this year’s second quarter totaled just under $3 billion, also marking a 26 percent increase over the second quarter of last year, as well as an increase of approximately 7 percent over the first three months of the year.

Search and display ads represented the bulk of online ad spending, with search accounting for 40 percent of total spending, and display ads pulling in 20 percent.

Google Announces New Index Size, Shifts Focus from Counting

By - September 26, 2005

Goog No Count

Under embargo last week, I spoke to Marissa Mayer about Google search. I do this often, as part of the normal news cycle, but this time was different. After clearing her throat with some 7th birthday news, she dropped the other shoe – Google is now claiming that its index is three times bigger than its competition. “Wow!” I said. “How can you tell?” “Tests we’ve done,” Mayer responded. “But…those are the same tests we’ve been debating since August, right? The same tests Yahoo claims are inconclusive and not to be trusted!”

Yup, that’s right. The index wars are over, at least in terms of raw counting. Google has taken its ball and gone home. The company has decided to take the McDonalds like number off its website – “8 billion pages served…”, and instead simply claim to be more comprehensive. “Google is the most comprehensive search engine by far,” Mayer told me. Can she prove that? Not easily. But there you have it.

Problem is, while Google is clearly sincere in making this claim – I don’t doubt they believe it – the company refuses to call out any numbers or walk anyone through how they can prove it (other than a battery of disputed tests that honestly, no single person could reliably execute anyway).

In fact, this announcement, tied to Google’s 7th birthday, is a major exercise in changing the rules of the game. Google has been increasing its index of late, Marissa said, and many out there have noticed it, including many commentors on this and other sites. The company was getting ready to back this claim, that’s for sure. It’s clear that this is a response to Yahoo’s earlier announcement on index size. To pretend otherwise is naive. Second, by refusing to count anymore, Google is forcing the debate back to relevance, where, honestly, it really belongs.

I asked Marissa that since Yahoo claims 20+ billion documents, and Google claims to be three times larger, might not folks simply presume that Google has 60 billion documents in its index? The answer goes to the heart of the index debate in the first place: Google does not count the way Yahoo seems to, so the comparison is apples to oranges. Google is counting one way, Yahoo another. So the numbers don’t add up.

I then asked Marissa if Google would be open to having a third party, agreed to by both sides, settle this in some reliable fashion. She said sure, but as she answered, I realized this will never happen. Both sides think they are right, and both sides will never divulge how they go about counting in the first place. So where are we left? Pretty much where we’ve been, only now, it’s all about who you believe. So who’s more comprehensive? Depends who you ask…..

Yahoo sent me a response late tonight. Here it is, in its entirety:

“We congratulate Google on removing the index size number from its homepage and recognizing that it is a meaningless number. As we’ve said in the past, what matters is that consumers find what they are looking for and we invite Google users to compare their results to Yahoo! Search at”

Er, sorry Yahoo. I don’t buy that one. Why on earth, then, did you announce that 20 billion number in the first place?

Well, at least this is the end of it. I’m not sure either company came off well in this particular dust up, but it seems to have been fought to some kind of a draw, at least for now.

Update: Eric Schmidt spoke with Markoff for this Times piece, in which he announces that Google will encourage folks to “guess” the size of Google’s index. And the closest person will win something. Maybe. Sheesh.