Reader Brian writes: @Home bought glamour companies like Excite! and Blue Mountain Arts, which gave rise to potential competitive issues which got them further away from their core business, which was delivering high-speed Internet services to as many cable subscribers as possible. The media spin on “do no evil” plays far differently with Google than with News Corp.]]> Read More
Sunday night, loyal diggers were online submitting sentimental screenshots of the 2.0 face. And when Digg was unavailable during the transition, one digger created a commemorative mirror of the down page (complete with rolling midi). On Monday, at 6 am (PST) Digg 3.0 went live with three new non-tech news categories, the addition of video (the first non-news container), and tighter tracking tabs on friends’ digging activity.
The expansion into World & Business, Entertainment, Science and Video, is Digg’s effort to attract a wider member base, though Technology will remain the default feed. Within hours, aside from a host of reviews, Digg users built hacks on version 3—one, for instance, returning the category bar back to the right-side of the screen. Here are a couple great synopses and reviews of the changes to peruse. Or you can listen to Kevin Rose present 3.0 himself—including more udpates to come.
The real revolution will come with a second push in July, when Digg introduces two new infosthetic features that visually display in detail what stories are getting relatively hot/cold, how many users say so, who says so, and if those diggers share common interests. Digg Incoming will allow users to scale vetting the +2000 incoming stories that come in daily (or rather make it possible for any one digger). New diggs will drop down like stacking blocks in realtime for each story, making quickly and easily comprehensible the relative popularity of hundreds of stories, lined up alongside each other, at a time. The other upcoming data visualization Rose calls “Digg spy on crack”—referring to the current Digg Spy, a running screen of realtime user activity (showing diggs, undiggs, comments, etc.). The new spy will display the dynamic bunching of user activity around popular stories like the movement of bees aggregating around burgeoning/wilting flowers.
In other Digg news:
– CNet just added a Digg button to all their pages, likely the first major, traditional media outlet to do so.
– Digg’s taffic is rapidly approaching comparison to that of the New York Times.
– Rose made number 23 in Business 2.0 top ’50 Who Matter Now’ (alongside Wikipedia).
I am traveling. The day before the day the Fourth of July holiday starts. And Delta and the JFK security staff is severly understaffed. My. god. Why do we do this to ourselves? I look forward to the long weekend. Will post more then…
Yesterday, a Senate committee voted out the net neutrality amendment by a narrow tie missing the needed majority (11-11), while approving the larger bill. The protective amendment could reenter before the broad telecom bill arises for a floor vote, though it’s not clear when that will happen. Despite the loss, the close vote is leading many neutrality activists to hope that the Republican opposition will face a challenge in the full Senate vote.
ZDNet: It’s “predatory”….
Though it’s very easy to cast it that way, and certainly is a strong argument, think about it this way – If Google bought MySpace, it’d all of a sudden be waist deep in the content creation/publishing business, a business it’s been very wary of playing in. Now, I think Google is a media company, of course, but when they start owning sites that otherwise might be major AdSense partners, it’s the equivalent of pooping where they eat. Sure, you own MySpace, and it’s huge inventory, but you’ve just made the rest of your AdSense partners very, very nervous – all of a sudden you are not the neutral partner, you’re the big ol’ competitor in the content space. You’re the head, and the tail feels like it’s being wagged.
I think Google realized that buying MySpace could queer its AdSense business, and that’s why they didn’t do it. I was led to this line of thinking by a good pal in the industry with whom I was meeting yesterday, who for now must remain anonymous, but trust me, he’s deep in this game.
Check this out
Google unveils its secure-cart Checkout program, integrated directly into search results. A little green shopping cart displays beside participating merchants; when selected, logged-in Google ID users will find the purchase process reduced to one page and returning users will find the data pre-populated (bells ring across the privacy vigilant web). Actually, in general it will be one page– a speedier checkout being Google’s major selling point–but it can be more.
AdWords advertisers will accumulate transaction fee discounts, even free usage, for increased sales. As an incentive to non-AdWords sellers, Google rates will be 2% + $.20 (in comparison to PayPal’s 1.9% + $.30) commission. Asked whether Google is considering including in search results direct-checkout options for other secure online transaction companies, representatives said only that the company would consider anything that would improve user experience.
“We can do that.”
Rupert Murdoch claims Google passed up the chance to buy MySpace at half the price he paid, just before it metastasised into 8% of Google’s search traffic. In the Verbatim of Wired’s July cover story, Murdoch summaries his impression of Google’s pass: “They thought, “It’s nothing special. We can do that.” Err… (via GigaOm)
Answering to Google
You can ask about Google, but in the end Google Answers answers to Google. In a string of playful submissions to Google Answers about the company itself, the tricksters are rooted out with a revealing final reply. Because Google Answers are written by non-employee researchers, the note says, they are not qualified to answer questions about the company. As SEW writes “Got that? Freelance researchers are apparently qualified to answer questions about any other company in the world, but when it comes to Google, special treatment is required. Incredible.”
The Oxford English Dictionary–last bastion of standardized English–includes “Google” as verb in the latest draft for its next edition. The pending definition, noted by Resource Shelf:
intr. To use the Google search engine to find information on the Internet.
trans. To search for information about (a person or thing) using the Google search engine.
Google sells Baidu stock
Google disinvests from the Chinese search engine Baidu, of which it owned 2.6 percent stock (about $63m). Though Google bought the Baidu stock before it launched its own engine in China, according to Bloomberg, Baidu stock is still out-performing Google and the other dominant US engines in China. Baidu market share reached 27 percent this year. (Reuters piece)
GBuy expected tomorrow
GBuy–Google’s premiere online payment system — is expected for testing on June 28, or sometime this week. Searchblog’s earlier post on GBuy. WSJ article (sub needed) sums it up: “Consumers who search for items like “shoes” or “strollers” on Google’s search site will see text ads with a symbol or icon designating advertisers that accept GBuy payments. Shoppers normally would have clicked on an ad and been linked to that merchant’s Web site. Now, while they will still be linked to the merchant’s site, they will go through a different checkout process integrated with Google if they choose GBuy for their transaction. Details of the service could still change before Google’s official GBuy announcement.”
WebBrain is a visual, interactive search engine containing the DMOZ directory. “WebBrain incorporates over 2.5 million URLs, which are organized into more than 353,000 categories by 35,000 volunteer editors of the Netscape Open Directory Project.” (via Infosthetics) (PC only)
Proctor & Gamble, leads in ads
According to the latest Leading National Advertiser Report, Proctor & Gamble became the largest advertiser in 2005, passing GM. Resource Shelf points out the full PDF shows company line-items for online ad spending.
Ingenio’s ‘pay-per-call’ service
A new service for experts (from financial advisers to professors) that essentially schedules phone consultations on private numbers with clients based on preliminary vetting for time and prices (based on the expert’s initial preferences). (CNet article)