Google Closes Answers, A People Driven Service

From the Google Blog: Google is a company fueled by innovation, which to us means trying lots of new things all the time — and sometimes it means reconsidering our goals for a product. Later this week, we will stop accepting new questions in Google Answers, the very first…

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From the Google Blog:

Google is a company fueled by innovation, which to us means trying lots of new things all the time — and sometimes it means reconsidering our goals for a product. Later this week, we will stop accepting new questions in Google Answers, the very first project we worked on here. The project started with a rough idea from Larry Page, and a small 4-person team turned it into reality in less than 4 months. For two new grads, it was a crash course in building a scalable product, responding to customer requests, and discovering what questions are on people’s minds.

The post eulogizes Google Answers, but doesn’t really explain why Google discontinued it….

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Updated: Google Display Advertising Network

I've got a post brewing in me about this, as it clearly is in my realm of interest, but I plan to get smarter on it first. However, John Chow, who runs the Tech Zone, spills the news that Google is deadly serious about selling direct to the Fortune…

I’ve got a post brewing in me about this, as it clearly is in my realm of interest, but I plan to get smarter on it first. However, John Chow, who runs the Tech Zone, spills the news that Google is deadly serious about selling direct to the Fortune 1000, and working direct with selected publishers on a CPM basis. Interesting. I knew Google was doing this already, but did not know it had a name!

Google Display Advertising Network was created so Google can go after Fortune 1000 companies, which buy advertising to build a brand more than to sell a product. Google already dominates text and CPC ads so going after display and video ads is the next logical step. Google offers display and video ads to AdSense publishers on CPC and CPM format already. However, the formation of the Display Advertising Network is a clear signal that Google really want to push this forward.

How do you join the Google Display Advertising Network? You can’t. Google won’t even acknowledge it exists. You won’t find anything written about it in any of Google’s web properties. The only way to get into the display network is if Google invites you, which is how I found out about it.

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Pardon the Dust…

I'm flying to LA for some meetings today, and we're transitioning Searchblog to a bigger, faster server to boot. My mail and this site may be cranky for most of the day….Forgive any blips as we work on it…thanks….

I’m flying to LA for some meetings today, and we’re transitioning Searchblog to a bigger, faster server to boot. My mail and this site may be cranky for most of the day….Forgive any blips as we work on it…thanks.

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Brewster On Google Library/Book Search

"The idea of having only one company control the library of human knowledge is a nightmare." That's Brewster Kahle, commenting on Google's contracts with libraries in its controversial book scanning/search service. I have asked many times on this site whether Google would ever share its scans with the world,…

“The idea of having only one company control the library of human knowledge is a nightmare.” That’s Brewster Kahle, commenting on Google’s contracts with libraries in its controversial book scanning/search service. I have asked many times on this site whether Google would ever share its scans with the world, and I’ve presumed the answer is no. Kahle confirms that, and comments on the implications.

More from Philipp over at Google Blogoscoped.

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Google Has My Credit Card Number Now

Herewith the story of my attempts to buy a Dora the Explorer Mr. Face Plush Backpack from ToysRUs using Google Checkout. In short, Google now has my credit card number. (It's one I use for testing, however). It feels kind of odd, to be honest. It seems Google is…

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Herewith the story of my attempts to buy a Dora the Explorer Mr. Face Plush Backpack from ToysRUs using Google Checkout. In short, Google now has my credit card number. (It’s one I use for testing, however). It feels kind of odd, to be honest.

It seems Google is obviating the merchant entirely vis the ongoing data relationship with the buyer. The registration screen states: “”Google” will appear by the charge on your credit card statement. Your card number will not be shared with the seller.”

Why on earth would anyone want this to be the case? To lose your relationship with the buyer? What information *is* passed back to ToysRUs? What rights do I have to that information, and to know how it’s used between Google and the merchant?

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Google Pushing Google Checkout

From a release just mailed to me: Google Checkout Adds New Merchants, Charity Donations and Promotions to New Holiday Site Looking for the perfect holiday gift this past weekend might have been enough to send most shoppers over the edge. That's why Cyber Monday, November 27, is expected to…

Google Checkout

From a release just mailed to me:

Google Checkout Adds New Merchants, Charity Donations and Promotions to New Holiday Site

Looking for the perfect holiday gift this past weekend might have been enough to send most shoppers over the edge. That’s why Cyber Monday, November 27, is expected to attract a crowd of online shoppers for the holiday season this year. And now, Google Checkout is working with even more merchants to help gift givers quickly and easily buy exactly what they want.

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I know, It’s Too Political

But it's really worth watching. The program’s designers say existing anticensorship programs are too complicated for everyday computer users, leave evidence on the user’s computer and lack security in part because they have to be advertised publicly, making it easy for censors to detect and block access to them….

But it’s really worth watching.

The program’s designers say existing anticensorship programs are too complicated for everyday computer users, leave evidence on the user’s computer and lack security in part because they have to be advertised publicly, making it easy for censors to detect and block access to them.

“Now you will have potentially thousands, even tens of thousands, of private proxies that are almost impossible for censors to follow one by one,” said Qiang Xiao, director of the China Internet Project at the University of California, Berkeley.

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Confidential Sources

I remain deeply concerned about the erosion of press freedoms in this country. A Times case regarding confidentiality of sources is coming to a head, more here. Key quote: “If the government is permitted to proceed to scrutinize the telephone records of The New York Times and its journalists,”…

I remain deeply concerned about the erosion of press freedoms in this country. A Times case regarding confidentiality of sources is coming to a head, more here. Key quote:

“If the government is permitted to proceed to scrutinize the telephone records of The New York Times and its journalists,” Mr. Abrams said, “it will be in a position to identify literally scores of confidential sources, thus imperiling both the ability of the press to gather the news and of the public to learn it.”

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More Europe: Settlement in Belgium

Google has settled with Sofam and Scam, two news organizations in Belguim that had been disputing Google's right to index and summarize their work in Google News. The most interesting bit of this story? Right here: “We reached an agreement with Sofam and Scam that will help us make…

Google has settled with Sofam and Scam, two news organizations in Belguim that had been disputing Google’s right to index and summarize their work in Google News. The most interesting bit of this story? Right here:

“We reached an agreement with Sofam and Scam that will help us make extensive use of their content,” Jessica Powell, a spokeswoman for Google, said in a phone interview yesterday. She declined to give details of the agreement or say whether it involved paying the groups for the content, and declined to say whether Google, based in Mountain View, Calif., was considering similar accords with the newspapers.

What do you think? Did Google pay up?

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