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2002, Part II
Ready for the rest of the year?
GoogleGuy




msg:37956
 4:54 pm on Jul 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

The first half of 2002 was pretty eventful at Google. We rolled out major new products like Enterprise Search and AdWords Select, pulled back the curtain on innovation like Google Answers and labs.google.com, partnered with some great companies, and launched tons of little things to improve search that most people--except for maybe the posters here--never notice, but really improve search. What sort of things do you want to see Google doing next? And are you ready for the rest of the year? :)

 

ann




msg:38106
 3:10 pm on Jul 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

ABSOLUTELY!!!
I think anyone should be able to link to anyone else without worry over penalties or getting kicked out of the index.

That IS where the spirit of the web was at one time....get dug in on as many sites as possible while giving the other sites the same chance.

Are the search engines so insecure that the people who own and run them think that if a majority of sites gets thousands of links it would make them, the search engine, almost irrelevant?

DON'T, repeat, don't use links for PR or position or anything....just buzz off and let people run their own websites.

Content, should reign supreme, and good coding. Spamming, hidden text, etc. should be the deciding factor in getting a penalty or kicked out.

Google, give us a break! Linking is good...repeat after me, linking is good, linking is good, linking is good......

Yes that's right, linking IS good....so let us get on with being good citizens and linking wherever we wish with out the goddess Googlebot rearing her domineering head.

The web could finally return to the way it was meant to be, a connected stream of information and resources...remember...linking is good, linking is good........

Ann

mayor




msg:38107
 7:45 pm on Jul 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Whatever changes/upgrades Google makes, I recommend they insist on appropriate team reviews of specifications, software design and release testing.

Coming from the world of process control programming, I know that after a team of programmers works on process code for a few years you wind up with an albatross. As the program builds, the requirements for design reviews, coding and release testing grow exponentially. So do the snafus, so you don't dare release a new version without all the team reviews and solid release testing.

nat




msg:38108
 8:56 pm on Jul 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

To the complaints about www.search-term.com: If search terms in the URL didn't affect ranking, what would happen when people type in familiar domain names and expect that site to come up? How is Google to separate the relevance of microsoft.com in a search for 'microsoft' and the relevance of search-term.com in a query for 'search term.' Usability folks have known for ages that large numbers of users have no clear distinction in their minds between the search box and the URL box. Some people continue to use the search box every time they want to go to familiar sites, and this mass of users would be ill served if your URL name has no bearing on your relevance.

In my own experience, one of the sites I run has done quite well with a main URL name that's just an 'irrelevant' business name, and content pages with the search-term.html file name format. The title tags, focused content, and on topic internal links all seem to have been sufficient to get a number of good rankings. Maybe not quite as well in all the searches as certain domain name spammers, but you can't win them all.

Negative voting: Any kind of active voting system usually favors complaints. When was the last time you sent compliments to the chef vs. complaining to the staff of a restaurant? If you like something, you keep going back, but usually say nothing. Giving disproportionate attention to vocal complainers can really skew the picture.

I don't know that separating out e-commerce vs. non-profit always provides a better information picture. I say this from a strong position of bias. The content I create on my clients' website is very informative, even though it does link to a page where membership can be purchased. In some cases, this content ranks almost as high, or higher than pages on the same topic on a government website. I would say it's because I worked hard to cover the topic thoroughly, and I don't see why my pages are any less informative just because of links to commercial activity. (Though I can see the benefit of having a search where you separate 'where to buy' from 'all about.' This could be accomplished easily by setting up links to related searches, like Lycos does, up above the listings in response to a generic search.)

I think it would be great if Google took over DMOZ and started charging a nominal fee for business listings, or started their own version. (Neatly solving the 'no editor, no service' problem, and the loss of LookSmart to their private insanity.) If the directory and search engine listings continued to be treated separately, it would work. I think a directory that also made use of spider technology could solve some of the bad directory listing problems. If the two systems worked together behind the scenes it would be ideal.

The spider could continue to pull listings from the directory, but could also give feedback. It's not cost effective to have an editor recheck listings in a category time and again, but very cheap to flag listings for review if the spider sends up a spam penalty. Also, very popular search engine sites as marked in Google's database could be flagged for an unprompted review and potential inclusion. This could also solve the etched-in-stone directory description problem, as it can update it from the site. (I agree also with the other posters who think that the description tags we create describe our pages best, and should be used *even if* they have no bearing on search rank.)

I think Google is the best search engine there is, and I don't usually get irritated when I don't get top listings for a page because I see consistently that I've been beaten by even more relevant content. This just spurs me to create more useful pages. I don't always feel that way on MSN, when I see that my on-topic pages have been beaten out by spammers, random junk, and (anymore) anywhere between 5-30 LookSmart listings that may or may not have better content. I never find on Google that my listings have been shoved down 10 places by a load of similar pages from one site, because Google is smart enough to include an indented listing which allows visitors to choose to see additional pages from the same site, giving maximum spread to the results.

Thanks to the Google Guy, and thanks to Google.

CromeYellow




msg:38109
 12:28 am on Jul 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

For starters, Google is the best search engine out there. I continue to use it, even though they are being nasty to my site. :(

But...

1) People love Google because of relevancy, lack of clutter and speed. (In that order IMHO)

Stick to what you do best. Watch that you don't give people the same feeling as other SE's when they think about visiting you (i.e. stress from information overload.)

Currently, google is like an island of calm in a sea of noise. Keep it that way and you'll stay number 1. My guess is that the more your competitors see being added to the search page the happier they will be.

2) Seconded: Make Google.co.uk default to 'UK pages' - what is the point otherwise?

3) On the inclusion on pdf links in SERPS: I have clicked on a pdf several times without meaning to and have suffered the interminable lag as Acrobat Launches, gains control and slows my machine right down. (OK, it's an older machine)

I know why it has happened, many users may not. They may just end up thinking 'Google results slow my machine down'.

4) On the red toolbar issue - I think enough damage has been done by undeserved PR penalties without toolbar users coming to a site via another route only ot be intercepted and warned off by Google!

5) Make the 'number of results' choice more prominent. The more people that read beyond the first 10 results, the less competition you'll have from webmasters trying to get top 10.

6) Adwords: Get country-specific pricing for country-specific ads. I have a feeling we'll see this pretty soon.

7) For my sanity - give us a definitive description of PR penalties. My latest reply from Google says "We have checked our logs and you haven't got a penalty" If this is true, I want to know what happened to my PR. *Let Us Pay To Know* Please!

Thanks for your interest here Googleguy.

All the best

Cy

ggrot




msg:38110
 5:31 am on Jul 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

1) Favicon's: I really love the little buggers. They are the right size to put next to search results too and would still load very fast. Of course, you'd still have to convert them to something other than a .ico.

2) Zeitgeist (sp?): Great thing, but I'd like to to be far more interactive. As it stands, there are a few top 10s, and its a *cool* feature, but not useful. Let me see what people who searched for 'blue widgets' also were searching for within the same session. Let me ask google what percentage of the users searching for 'microsoft' used windows 2000. Things like that. I realize thats alot of resources, but it would be oh so *cool* and very useful.

3) Improved PR system: Look at what Almaden (IBM) is doing with hubs and authorities. Its more complex, requires more resources than PR, but it is a great theory.

4) Spam: Block known spam user agents. Strip all email addresses from your cached pages. Many of us put email addresses on our sites, but use our servers to prevent certain people from visiting those pages. Your cache lets them waltz right in. Also, perhaps prohibit visiting the cache page with a referring url not from google (or a blank referring url of course).

5) Weather. Let me type in my area code into the search box and get an option to get local weather. I dont want to go to weather.com or wunderground.com and get blasted w/ ads. I want it the google way, and i want it in the same spot as all my other searches, a few keystrokes away in the google toolbar.

6) Image Search. Make the gizmo quiz's trivial. Let me actually search on an uploaded image. j/k

pvdm




msg:38111
 11:49 am on Jul 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

Many of my wishes are already suggested by others in this thread.

One I haven't seen yet is the availability of searching for all external inbound links to a site, but excluding the internal links of this site. Fast provides this option. I can't find it on Google. Is this on purpose?

First this gives a better idea of the amount of real inbound links to a site. And it makes it easier to monitor obsolete links. Two reasons that have nothing to do with SEO and should benefit users and webmasters alike.

matthias




msg:38112
 5:39 pm on Jul 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

I would like to have anchor links to long pages. Of course only if there are anchors in the page and the majority of the search terms are below the anchor and above the next one. (does anybody understand my english? :-)

angiolo




msg:38113
 7:41 pm on Jul 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

I would like you pass better results to Netscape and AOL!!

pontifex




msg:38114
 7:49 pm on Jul 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

Ok Googleguy,

after this loooooong thread I have a request from the webmaster community for you: could you tell us in a few weeks, which suggestions where most interessting? Please?
I mean that would be fair, right?
I dont need to know, what you will do or not, just tell us your opinion as a professional, which ideas are valid from the point of view from the largest SE in the world.

live long and prosper

Napoleon




msg:38115
 9:52 am on Jul 26, 2002 (gmt 0)

Here's another for you GG. I know that there are gripes on here about what should and should not receive advanatage from your algo... that's to be expected in a self interest situation. However, in reality, as I mentioned earlier, the algo is your concern and there is obviously little wrong with it or you wouldn't be thriving and of course wouldn't have the reputation you have.

The point I would make is the latter... reputation.... perception. Perception is critical. Google is seen as pure and clean relevant. That is why it has done so well. It is your brand.

The potential problem is via your sourcing arrangements - and I have covered this in other threads. AOL is the main example. Your name is closely associated with the returns on their pages, yet AOL are corrupting the results with ads, hidden ads, for some searches.

When people click on these and find that they are not up to the usual standard, how will they then view Google? They will not know that these are not Google returns (that is part of the deception). It will contaminate your brand.

I know it is a harsh market place, and that the AOL deal will have been a hard drive, but it is an area in which you have to be very careful. Your brand needs to be protected... or at least, if it is going to be screwed, it should be you that does it and not a third party!

I'm not sure how the AOL situation can be addressed now, post deal... maybe you can get the FTC to hit them with a big stick?

alxdean




msg:38116
 4:01 pm on Jul 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

Now something I would like to see is Google actually updating its .com index as regularly as it is updating its other indexes, such as .co.uk, .de, .be, .ch, ...

my lovely little website appeared on the net 6 months ago, never having heard of this forum nor the idea of SEO I went ahead and submitted a horrible description to dmoz, even worse one to yahoo and google picked up on my homepage with no text as it was a wonderful image map acting as portal into my site, sadly enough using session tracking values ensuring the googlebot could not enter.

After cleaning up my act I have been waiting 4 months for Google to update its description of my site from the updated dmoz entry, just to realise that the .co.uk entry is up to date but the .com entry not.
Now why in heavens sake does google keep the indexes, other than the one the .com site uses more up to date than the .com one?

Also the .co.uk,.de,.ch,.be ... indexes have now all my crawled web pages but the .com entry still refuses to know about them.

flowilu




msg:38117
 5:01 pm on Jul 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

Matthias' suggestion (#157) is quite useful, at least for the cached version of results pages.

Today we have to

1. open Google
2. enter query
3. open good looking page
4. press Strg+F (most of the times)
5. enter query
--> to find the key word

An anchor for the first key word on results page makes it

1. open Google
2. enter query
3. click 'cached version' of good looking page
--> to find the key word

alxdean




msg:38118
 12:36 am on Jul 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

But flowilu and mathias, if you both use the Googlebar you could easily click the highlight button and zap through the page in an instant to see where you want to go.

I think the Highlight function on the Googlebar is the best thing since sliced bread to be honest. anchors would just totally confuse the searcher. Just put yourself into the position of a newbie to the internet. Just learned how to use the mouse for the first time and is getting to grips with the idea of pressing enter after each entry he/she makes. Now this user clicks on a link expecting to go to a site, maybe even expecting to go to a page on that site. But surely the majority won't be expecting to be zapped into a paragraph of a page without knowing where they are.

Many suggestions I have read here on this post are great. many feasible but always keep in mind the usability factor. those users out there are a hard bunch to please, and most of them are at war with the concept of a computer anyhow.

bigjohnt




msg:38119
 1:43 am on Jul 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

1.Take pdf and txt files out of the SERPs, and make it an option. Major clutter, and I am sure that folks that don't have Acrobat installed don't like it much. The HTML option looks awful in most cases. Let folks looking for PDF's use advanced search, or another menu button.

2.Get rid of the image search function. What other purposes for searching for images could there be other than using those images themselves? Mostly copyright violators. A few educational folks. Big waste of search capability, IMO. Am I correct in assuming there is no way we can exempt images from this search capability? If I want people to see my images, I want them to see the PAGES they came on. They are an enhancement to the pages, not to be served a la carte.

3.Oh, and be sure that all WMW readers get their sites at the top with a special wmw meta tag, so some of us can stop kvetching about PR, and all the elements of ranking, and focus on the content of our sites and businesses. ;)

4.As far as PR and the linkpop - its fine, but if I can see how folks use 10 or 20 of their own sites on a single IP block to manipulate your results surely you can too.

5.And most of all, after the IPO, try to stay true to your roots, and not cave to the greed that will buy you.

Google rocks, lets keep it that way.

matthias




msg:38120
 2:56 am on Jul 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

No I don't use the toolbar most of the time and even if I do, I can not follow your advise, alxdean :-). Usually I open the page in a new window and the toolbar isn't able handle this.

I'm not sure I understand your argument. If the user doesn't even know his scroll bar, how should he know about google or even the toolbar? And isn't it much more confusing to get on a page and have the impression that it doesn't contain any of the keywords?

However, I was speaking of what I would find useful not what others might find useful (of course I try to think the other way around if I build a site :-).

alxdean




msg:38121
 11:44 am on Jul 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

sorry matthias, had no right to comment on other peoples suggestions. A bit silly of me really. Will be more careful in feature when adding my 2 pennies worth. ;-)

matthias




msg:38122
 12:17 pm on Jul 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

No problem :-) but don't expect me not to struggle ;-)

vitaplease




msg:38123
 7:26 am on Jul 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

I notice I am using (or should be using) Google more and more for spell-checking and it works very well.

Just another suggestion for my own needs:

Generally speaking, research (search) on internet has to be in English for any relevant amount of published data to appear. For non-native English speakers, the spell-checking suggestion or redirect will correct wrongly spelled search queries, but this will predominantly be English or US/english.

A search for - grey tumour - will miss results from - gray tumor - will be different from - grey tumor - etc.

Google does not recognis(z)e the above cases as needing correction or suggestion (as it does in many other examples) but either way, as searcher/researcher, even with consistently spelled search phrases, I am missing part of the "all-English" research(search) results.

Could google put an extra line (where the suggested spelling occurs), with, do you want all - English results - US/english results - Both (at least on the European Google continent)

Would an American searching for "English humor" be helped with the suggested option of also looking for "English humour"? He would be clever/educated enough to type in both, but we non-native English will miss results.

Overture results are modelled on a force feed for the "Both" option, Google could offer the options.

shelleycat




msg:38124
 9:49 am on Jul 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

>English results - US/english results - Both (at least on the European Google continent)

The majority of my google searches are also done for scientific research. In New Zealand we use the British spelling. However our research includes equal reference to work done in both Britain and the US (as opposed to say a British research paper which can tend to list mainly European references). However despite being very well educated (;))I don't always know the possible American versions of various scientific terms.

Also I discussed American/British spelling with some American friends recently and they weren't aware of many spelling differences either. It seems no one teachs us this stuff.

So a place where I could chose to list both versions of my search terms would actally be really useful. It would not only help me find more of the relevant research papers but would also tell me if I'm looking at the American version of a word or just plain mis-spelling it. Nice idea :D

Added:
Second idea I really like

>Let folks looking for PDF's use advanced search, or another menu button.

Often I'm actively searching for those pdf files, that's where many of the scientific papers are hiding. Particularly screen shots of ones published in peer-reviewed journal, just the kind us scientists like. If I could do a seperate search just for pdf's I would be happy :)

shelleycat




msg:38125
 4:27 am on Jul 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

After spending some quality time with the Google advanced search page I discovered I can actually search for just .pdf files. I guess I never thought to look before. The same place gives an option for "only" return file type whatever or "don't" return file type whatever so I'm assuming that .pdf's can be excluded as well.

vitaplease




msg:38126
 6:19 am on Jul 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

In New Zealand we use the British spelling

shelleycat, I guess that would be for most of the Commonwealth countries, which would mean a nice balancing effect to US-spelling.

Here are some 200+ other US/British spelling differences [xpdnc.com].

that should make some easy programming.

Even sites such as Nature.com uses both "tumor" and "tumour"
search for: site:www.nature.com tumor

ann




msg:38127
 3:47 pm on Aug 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

I wonder why GG never got back to this thread?

How did you like the suggestions? Any you feel worthy of Google using?

Inquiring minds want to know...:)

Ann

vitaplease




msg:38128
 12:09 pm on Aug 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

How about an
optional suggested synonym tool.

if I search for "corrected GDP numbers" Google could have a mouse over on the separate underlined words underneath (now link-leading to the dictionary). On this mouse-over Google could list the most common synonyms for that word from which you could make a choice.

With this option, from the above mentioned search query example, I could also find: "revised GDP data" for example.

The English language remains the language for research, and non-natives, will not always come up with the right verbs, adjectives and appropriate nouns for that seach query.

Alternatively, in the advanced search you could choose an option which will list which synonym alternatives gives the most results:

revised gross domestic product data 128,000
revised GDP data 113,000
revised GDP numbers 48,000
corrected GDP data 17,300

muesli




msg:38129
 12:24 pm on Aug 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

vita,

as a non-english-native i totally agree:

in case of more challenging searches i usually spend the first half of the total time on researching the correct keywords. a very annoying thing - i guess that in 90%+ of the cases searchers will give up at that stage.

muesli

martin




msg:38130
 11:46 pm on Aug 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Google Toolbar for Opera Linux or PageRank values on SERPs.

Also default to show only HTML docs on SERPs.

vitaplease




msg:38131
 12:14 pm on Sep 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

People - Address finder

A seperate search page for finding people, their address or their telephone number(provided they are indexed somewhere on some page in some form).

Ever had an unreadable post-it message on your desk?

Please call back Lesly Janse from the company Inter... in Brussels, she says you have her number...

OR

Wouldn't it be nice if we could type (parts of) first name, last name, company, city, telephone number in seperate fields?

Google would then search for the most probable result using a real OR function, combined with the traditional xxx* search function [webmasterworld.com] and the "sounds-like" or "also-spelled" versions of names.

For the first name Google would search for the above mentioned Lesly, but also for the other spellings or sound alikes such as Leslee, Lesle, Leslie, but also "L." etc. check variations [kabalarians.com]

The last names would also automatically consider Jansse, Janssen and Jansen.

The city field would of course take into account different language versions of the spelling of Brussels such as Bruxelles and Brussel.

The telephone field would naturally check for parts of the telephone numbers(*256.25*).

I guess you could also use it for that half-beer-mat with incomplete lipstick name and telephone number you find in your pocket the morning after..

This way you could really say Google-me!

hmpphf




msg:38132
 4:32 pm on Sep 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

It's funny that this thread should crop up again, because it took me a month before thinking of the thing that I would like Google to do: integrate with Excel.

I was filling in an Excel spreadsheet a few nights ago, typing in a list of musical products from a handwritten sheet. Basically, I couldn't read about 25% of the handwriting, so I frequently had to copy the contents of a cell that I was uncertain about, paste it into Google, and then judge whether the results that came back were liable to be the musical instrument in question, or something completely different.

What I thought would be useful would be a 'Google this cell' icon (or even a right click menu option) that would perform a Google search with the contents of the cell I had highlighted.

In a way, this is an extension of the idea of the add on Google toolbar in IE, and would probably be appropriate for other Office products too.

muesli




msg:38133
 6:25 am on Sep 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

hmpff,
i guess it would be quite easy to write an office macro/add on in visual basic to do what you expect. the tool might even exist already on the net somewhere. no need for google to provide it, anybody could do.
muesli

martin




msg:38134
 8:27 am on Sep 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

I would add to that long list, provide PageRank via the Google API, please.

I'm on Linux and I can't check PR.

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