“Googlearchy or Googlocracy?”
An article by several researchers refutes the notion that the Google search engine reinforces the popularity of high PageRank sites. The IEEE Spectrum article “Googlearchy or Googlocracy?” is by five academics at the University of Indiana, Filippo Menczer, Santo Fortunato, Alessandro Flammini, and Alessandro Vespignani–who discuss the surprising results of their original paper:
While search engines do not make for a level playing field, their use partially mitigates the rich-get-richer nature of the Web, giving new sites an increased chance of being discovered.
Google has a new search spider called AdsBot that will visit the landing pages of ads to asses the quality of an ad campaign for AdWords. It can be blocked, like other search engine spiders, but AdRank scores will be penalized as non-participatory. SEW explains: That quality score, along with the amount you are willing to pay, is then used to determine an ad’s AdRank, the position where an ad will appear in the results. A high quality score means you can rank higher even if you pay less than others.
First mentioned last December, the AdsBot will begin operation soon. Here’s a comment by Page (in a recent, peripheral but relevant, interview) that gives some insight into the overall reasoning at play:
The reason people look at the ads spaces and eventually click on ads is because they’re really high quality—they’re comparable to the search results. If the ads are of substantially worse [quality] than the search results then—guess what, people are smart and they actually learn not to look at that area of the screen. If you test this: in places where there are normally banner ads, people’s eyes go around that area.
The Invasion of MS Messenger
Microsoft is hosting a contest called “Invasion of Robots” to design accessory robots for its Live Messenger (beta). Developers are equipped with three software developer kits, challenged to create bots that enhance user experience in Messenger (e.g. adding features like picture sharing or search capability), for a total of $40K in prize money. There are three bots up for public voting so far—one provides Encarta answers to questions, another feeds quotes from “our fearless leader – W”. (Via TechTree)
Wikipedia + Google Maps = WikiMapia.
BlockRocker the beta “Geoaggregator”
BlockRocker pulls geotags loaded in external sites, like Flickr, Technorati, and Webview360. Users can also submit their own geotags through Flickr, blog posts through Technorati, or any webpage with Blockrocker geotagging bookmarklet (modeled on del.icio.us). It’s creator, Rod Edwards, says eventually he hopes to integrate Block Rocker into any location-aware device. So “if you’re in downtown SF with nothing to do, I’d like you to be able to open BR.mobi on your phone and find out what’s going on that night within a three block radius of wherever you are. One step at a time, though.”
Looking for a few good (print reading) geniuses
Google is recruiting with a full-page print ad in Wired magazine. Danny Sullivan at SEW advises, “If you didn’t skip three grades and failed to learn Lisp by age 10 like Niniane, there’s no need to apply.”