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Florida Update - where'd the name come from?
A short history of naming the Google updates

 11:06 pm on Dec 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

With Update Florida creating such a stir, it's becoming clear that many of our friends around the web don't know how the updates get their names. Well, I'm here to set the record straight for those who don't know -- it all started here on WebmasterWorld, early in this year of 2003.

The first element in the process involved a bit of Internet history. At SES Boston this year, Dan Dulitz (representing Google) gave the official word to a room full of Internet marketers that indeed, the new Google update had begun. And so, on the forums here, we began to call it the Boston update, for the sake of clarity.

And then the idea struck our own NFFC -- why not name the updates the way that hurricanes are named? It would make a great shorthand way to discuss the update and all related issues.

And so we did. At the time, we also assumed that the updates would be roughly once a month [webmasterworld.com], which did not hold up. But the tradition of naming each major shake-up in the Google index has continued.

I tracked down the update threads for each name and had a blast re-visiting all the old conversations. Hope others will enjoy this trip down memory lane, and the perspective it brings to this moment.

(confirmed by Daniel Dulitz at SES Boston, 2003)

(The first intentionally chosen name - There are
several different meanings to Cassandra. "Truthful",
"Unheeded Prophetess", "Confuser of Men",
"She who is Ignored"

(Named for a pizza restaurant frequented by
PubConference attendees in Boston)

(The beginnings of a more "continuous, rolling"
update and the end of the monthlies. Does anyone
have any history on why that name was picked?)

(Note for all you conspiracy buffs:
WebmasterWorld Publisher's Conference VI [webmasterworld.com] will be held in
February in Orlando,
Florida. Is this a mere coincidence?)

[edited by: tedster at 5:40 pm (utc) on Jan. 3, 2004]



 11:23 pm on Dec 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

Due to time differences, we in the UK often post when America is asleep (and vice versa).

It was I who first spotted the update here in the UK, and was surprised (bemused?) a few hours later that it had been named Florida when you guys woke up.

Obviously it has to begin with an F, but it seemed to me it was hardly a coincidence that the next PubConference is in Florida ;)

I nevertheless attempted to have it renamed 'Update Filey (North Yorkshire)' - made a couple of posts to this effect, and even sent a sticky to GoogleGuy claiming precedence, and asking him to use Update Filey (North Yorkshire) in one of his posts.

I don't think he would mind if I state that he did reply, found it amusing, and suggested he might refer to Update Filey in a future post. But it was all tongue in cheek, and he's a polite guy and he didn't.

But there is your complete inside history - it should be 'Update Filey (North Yorkshire)' - all within quotes (for the simple reason that few people, even in the UK, know where Filey is!)

p.s. as a mark of goodwill, perhaps update G could be taken from a UK place-name. Maybe Greenwich? I see you use UTC after all ;)


 11:42 pm on Dec 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the potted history Tedster - anything that adds a little perspective to Google's updates is welcome.

> conspiracy

Quite the opposite. Brett moves in high-brow circles. Apparently he knows guys called Florida... :-)


 11:44 pm on Dec 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

Nice one Tedster, now I know where "Dominic" came from :)

As a Florida resident I object to our State name being used for such an update....we already have enough ridicule aimed at us for bad mathematics ;)

The latest update seems to mean our "budget is spent on replacing the stolen signs", buying Adwords to replace our SERP's.

Oddly enough if you try the above quoted term in Google it comes up with a town in Austria which may have been a much more appropriate name for this update.


 11:54 pm on Dec 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

Nice to see you USA guys have absolutely no comment to make on Filey North Yorks.

I just hope you don't drop us like a hot brick when your foreign policy goes wrong


 12:50 am on Dec 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

lol, percentages.


 12:53 am on Dec 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

For those who haven't seen the "complete" recent update chart for Google, it's here:


 1:41 am on Dec 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

No date for Update Filey I see - is precedent in dispute ;)


 1:46 am on Dec 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Surely most remember the "Hanging Chads" incident that happened in florida?

Well thats my correlation - After this update Google left a lot of "hanging chads" .. marys, bills, daves, beckys and more ... LMAO

More Traffic Please

 2:09 am on Dec 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

The World Meteorological Organization is currently in charge of naming hurricanes. It is their policy that if a hurricane does significant damage, it's name will be retired for good. For example, Hurricane Andrew.

Can we be assured from webmasterworld.com that the name Florida will be retired for eternity?


 2:16 am on Dec 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

The etymology

"Pascua Florida" or "Flowery Easter"

The story goes that Ponce de Leon discovered Florida in 1513 on an Easter Sunday, didn't find a fountain of youth, or chocolate bunnies, but liked the flowers and named the place after them.


 2:26 am on Dec 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Can we name the next one Grace? Pretty please?


 5:44 am on Dec 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Conference in Orlando eh? Just 5 minutes away from our office - think I should attend this one.. Cant get more convienent then this! Thanks for the words...

brotherhood of LAN

 6:33 am on Dec 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

The truth always comes out, heh.

I was reading old wive's tales about why it was called Florida ..... when it's really WebmasterWorld folklore :-)

if anyone's truly annoyed about update results, and feel it's "unjustified"....justify the name of the update by linking over to this ;) ;)


 6:35 am on Dec 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>Can we name the next one Grace? Pretty please?

I hereby second the nomination for the next one being named Update Grace in honor of our youngest member:

babyoil [webmasterworld.com]

And here's hoping it'll be just as sweet.


 7:12 am on Dec 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

While Grace is a fine name, it might be more fun to name the next update "google" ;-)


 8:02 am on Dec 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Great summary of the history towards the "Famous Florida Filter".


 8:46 am on Dec 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Mr. VP, if it isn't as sweet as Gracie and it comes before Christmas we could dub it "Update Grinch - the year that Google stole Christmas" ala Dr. Seuss.


 10:17 am on Dec 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Why not "Georgia"? ;)


 12:03 pm on Dec 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

The next one will not probably be until January - that is *IF* we ever see another one again.


 12:08 pm on Dec 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Since the next update will begin with a "G" I propose

Update Guaranteed....

That might put an end to all our misery...


 12:49 pm on Dec 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

The next one will be called "Galen" and will be on 6/27/07.......the time at which Google realizes how it all went wrong and decides to try to fix it.....in some vain hope of regaining market share :)


 1:48 pm on Dec 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

And what about update Fritz?

In August there was a thread called "Update Fritz? Backlinks updated [webmasterworld.com]" but within the last few days it has been renamed to "Update? Backlinks updated".


 4:16 pm on Dec 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

I don't know what happened to Galen - it was clearly a false alarm. So will Galen stick as the new name? Or will it be Update Greenwich. It would be a nice gesture towards my fellow countrymen. But please feel free to ignore my post... ;)

<edit: hey - you can even pretend it refers to Greenwich Village if it makes you feel better :) >


 10:17 pm on Dec 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

> *IF* we ever see another one again.

Personaally, I wouldn't like to bet either way Brett.

If we never have another 'update' it'll be harder to track changes, but those changes will be no less profound.


 11:43 pm on Dec 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

But what did we see on friday when some PRs changed? Wasn't it an update? If it was one, I would call it GoogleGuy, because he's the only one who knows if it was one or not. GG, maybe you want to confirm friday as update day? :)

Call me a newbie but I always thought that a dance/update is when baclinks/PR is updated. I think we see a rolling update of SERPs nower days, whereas PR and backlinks are displayed a few days later after they have been calculated into the SERPs.

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