free html hit counter December 2006 - Page 3 of 9 - John Battelle's Search Blog

Washing Out The SOAP

By - December 20, 2006


I’m not really very fluent in this stuff, but when Tim Bray worries about it, and then I read this on a site he points to:

Forget about the SOAP vs. REST debate for a second, since most of the world doesn’t care. Google’s search API let you send a search query to Google from your web site’s backend, get the results, then do anything you want with them: show them on your web page, mash them up with data from other sites, etc. The replacement, Google AJAX API, forces you to hand over part of your web page to Google so that Google can display the search box and show the results the way they want (with a few token user configuration options), just as people do with Google AdSense ads or YouTube videos. Other than screen scraping, like in the bad old days, there’s no way for you to process the search results programmatically — you just have to let Google display them as a black box (so to speak) somewhere on your page.

I worry too. What do you think? Is Google killing its SOAP API for business, rather than technical reasons? And will others follow?

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A Few More Thoughts on Zeitgeist

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A few reporters called me about Zeitgiest (WaPo) while I was at the airport yesterday, and talking to them got me thinking about what we see there.

The top list is not very revealing, save the instance of “rebelde” – a telenovela – or Radioblog – makes me wonder what the parameters are for their filtering. Obviously they filtered out sex searches. What else? What was the methodology? Google doesn’t tell us.

Anyway, two other things struck me. One, how big the Web 2 world was. The term Web 2 made one of the lists, and wiki, blog, and podcast did too.

Second, I’m curious about all the pharma terms. Look at the “What is” list:

What is…

1. what is hezbollah

2. what is carisoprodol

3. what is acyclovir

4. what is alprazolam

5. what is tramadol

6. what is ajax

7. what is hydrocodone

8. what is vicodin

9. what is xenical

10. what is xanax

It’s clear the world is totally confused by all the pharma advertising, and it’s also clear that Google sees a big, big opportunity in providing health information. Hmmm. Let’s hope that the two don’t mix – big pharma is most likely one of Google’s largest AdWords customers, but clearly, don’t want folks finding out too much detail about the drugs they are pushing on us.

When/if Google launches Health, they will be placed in the position of choosing between the best information to customers, and the billions of dollars that pharma has to spend. Let’s hope they don’t blink.

I have a thought on what Health might look like. More on that in another post, later today.

Skrenta: Google Already Has 70% Market Share

By - December 19, 2006

Most share of market reports say Google has somewhere between 45 to 60 percent market share – dominant, but not terrifyingly dominant. Rich Skrenta, who has serious cred in the search world, says he believes it’s more like 70 percent. He bases this on referral information from his and other major sites (he runs Topix).

What strikes me as a potentially gating to this conclusion is that referrals to major sites does not reflect the entire web of search usage. …but it is striking nonetheless.

Year End Zeitgeist Up

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A for effort in terms of giving us a bit more to grok….

I must say, the amount of info Google knows, versus what it gives back to us, is just silly. Look at this chart of “Dancing With the Stars vs. American Idol vs.Project Runway”


All relative values, no real data. But what do they really know about this, and, oh, every other entry in the Database of Intentions? A shitload, for sure. This Zietgiest is the best ever for giving us more to check out, but it shows just how little the rest of us know about what, for Google, is knowable.

PS – On The Road

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PS – I’m on the road – 18 hours each in NY and Chicago. Way too many folks I want to see, but too little time to do it all. Posting to resume when I get home….

"Cingular to Let…"

By - December 18, 2006

So, read this headline from I Want Media, and tell me what’s deeply wrong with it:

Cingular Plan to Let Users Post to MySpace Blogs

Cingular Wireless customers will be able to access the content from MySpace, under a new plan. Cingular cellphone customers will be able to post to their MySpace blogs while also sending and receiving e-mail. Cellphones are more and more becoming mini-entertainment devices.

Yep. The whole “Cingular to Let…” concept. I mean, my God. Since when do I give a shit about what Cingular will or will not let me do? It’s so damn typical of gatekeeper distributors. Ugh. MySpace best beware. Cutting too many of these deals with the dumbass devil, and the folks who made you # 1 will abandon you for someone who understands the value of open networks.

NASA-Google, Flying High Again

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Picture 1-35Although the cooperative partnership between Google and NASA, first announced in September 2005, quickly faltered on initial setbacks, today the two institutions announced the relationship was indeed secure and that their joint efforts would be publicly announced ‘soon.’

The first partnership project will involve making NASA data available online. From Cnet:

NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said in a statement that “soon” there will be Google Earth flyovers available for the surfaces of Mars and the moon. Additional data will include real-time weather forecasting and visualization, as well as tracking of the International Space Station and space shuttle activity.

Other noncommittal hints even alluded to a possible NASA-Google joint space mission.