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New Google Answering Facts
Queries return answer at top of page.
trimmer80




msg:722302
 12:32 am on Apr 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

search for: "australia population"

this will return the answer at the top of the page.

also

"who is the pope"

Soon enough google wont need publishers, they will just answer everything themself.

 

twist




msg:722332
 3:57 am on Apr 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

the information from the CIA is, I think, reprintable (because it's from a government entity, anyone can reprint it). Anybody find information that's come from a copyrighted source?

If your right and their only using US Gov information then yeah, there are no copyrights on any of that information. So I guess that would be ok. If thats all their doing then who cares. I thought they were actually getting it from peoples websites.

Sobriquet




msg:722333
 4:12 am on Apr 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

I love google but this feature isnt fair. Its just one more step in KILLING THE TOP FOLD.

This, and a few other new thing are killing the top fold for the ordinary webmaster.

My objection is that it is consuming the top 1 or 2 inches of the of fold of google search results.

Looking for word BPO ( i meant business process outsource) it gave me the chart of stock fluctuation of a listed company called BPO right on the top of results.

Looking at the search for BPO as an example, we see that the first thing u see on top of page is your desktop results ( if u have google desktop installed ).
Then u have News about BPO (3 lines) , after that the stock values and the graphic chart. The natural search results, only two of them are visible in 1200 resolution and none is visible on 800 resolution.

The eye shifts to right and you get the Adwords listings.

I guess soon the answers feature and the stock graphs and the news feature and .. some more such features which look great may aprear on top fold together and each natural search results would move to lower fold.

I feel, somehow Google is purposely pushing the natural search downwards slowly, so that the Adwords visibility increases for masses.

This would eventually put AdWords advertisers above the natural results.

All this new information G is stuffing in the TOP FOLD MAY only reduce the interest of webmasters in reaching the so called top fold of page 1.

Look for answers to the following.

What is Google?
What is Yahoo?

On a lighter note, Also see ;) what is *** { the (in)famouse 3letter world } and se what it has to do about the backseat. lol [mod, please remove if against Terms]

[edited by: Sobriquet at 4:19 am (utc) on April 9, 2005]

Sobriquet




msg:722334
 4:29 am on Apr 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

I am in for a webmasters union. Lets join hands.

We tried a union at our local city level about 2 years ago There were about 120 members to start with. And it fell apart in 2 weeks because of inner conflicts between most members. The union broke when the first agenda of keeping a minimum price was called so that the market does not fall below a certain level.

Lets make a union and get together

walkman




msg:722335
 5:06 am on Apr 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

legal or not: it's not a good, or fair move at all. Essentially it's traffic stealing. You spend thousands of hours developing content, hoping someone click on an ad, but Google will give the same info on top for free.

Visit Thailand




msg:722336
 5:25 am on Apr 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

Agreed. If they are allowed to continue like this, we can all just retire and G will do everything!

gethan




msg:722337
 5:48 am on Apr 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

Sources: Yes, information is coming from not just the CIA factbook and answers.com, I've seen about.com and a few others.

Copyright: another grey area - fair use is a snippet, a fact can't be copyrighted - even in the US. But these are direct quotes from websites - so probably fairuse, and they do attribute the source.

Factual errors: make the search engine laughable - I would never have released this feature, when so much incorrect and out of date information is present. I think the millions of emails that are flooding in to google now saying "your facts are wrong" - will prompt something of a rethink.

Not fair: get over it, this is the way business works. Google is not about providing you with anything, it's about providing google with everything, until now that goal has happened to supply websites with traffic, it isn't always going to work like that.

twist




msg:722338
 5:54 am on Apr 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

get over it, this is the way business works.

You are correct, a search engines number one concern is themselves. Even though without our websites they would be nothing, they currently hold all the cards. <snip>

[edited by: lawman at 11:49 am (utc) on April 9, 2005]

lexipixel




msg:722339
 5:57 am on Apr 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

If G spreads themself too thin with this kind of non-sense, it will just open the door for another purebred search engine to rise up and grab market share.

How about: Register your domain with GoGoogly... Web Hosting at AffiniG... Auctions at GooBay... Books from AmaGoog... Ranking the web by Googlexa, and the soon to be released McGoogle --- would you like fries with that?

McMohan




msg:722340
 6:49 am on Apr 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

Legal or illegal, it is a great feature for the end users - the Joe public. The first impression most have about a search engine is, "it gives me answers to what I am looking for"

Good move.

Atticus




msg:722341
 7:00 am on Apr 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

"Good move."

I'm not sure that emulating AskJeeves is a good move for Google.

The evolution of G's search function into "let's let them ask questions," or "let's throw some pictures/news/weather at them" ends up being a run-around for serious users.

A SE is really nothing more than a card catalog and shouldn't try to look smarter by dumbing down the process. This new answer feature might have a great 'gee-whiz' factor for infrequent users, but for people who have used G for research (and it has been a great tool for that) to suddenly have alot of crap thrown at them that is only peripherally associated with their query is maddening.

I'm more unhappy with G everyday as a user. As a publisher, I note that over 50% of the traffic I now get from G is untargeted and useful neither to the users or to me. I'll repeat that -- 50% of the traffic G is now sending to me is from people who should never have been pointed to the page by G.

Chris_D




msg:722342
 11:11 am on Apr 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

Sources? So far I've also seen:

wikipedia
princeton.edu
lib.unc.edu
who2.com

<cracked me up - it doesn't offer an answer to "who is the prime minister of australia"! />

createErrorMsg




msg:722343
 2:12 pm on Apr 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

You spend thousands of hours developing content, hoping someone click on an ad, but Google will give the same info on top for free.

Again, because it's a fact that seems to be getting glossed over, Google can only display information from you if you let them index your site. If you really have a problem with this feature, simply disallow googlebot to visit and index your pages. This will remove you from their results altogether, preserving your copyright and hard work. If, however, you want to have your site listed in their SERPs, the price you pay is that they index your pages and display some of it's information as they see fit. No one is stealing anything from you; it's your choice to let Google take your data.

legal or not: it's not a good, or fair move at all. Essentially it's traffic stealing.

It's not traffic stealing, since they're the ones giving you the traffic in the first place. If your great-aunt Edna routinely gives you $400 every Christmas, then one year only gives you $300, has she stolen $100 dollars from you? Of course not. The only legitimate complaint might be if the Facts feature was preventing users from clicking on AdWords ads, since Google does actually owe those advertiser's traffic; you know, since they're actually paying Google money.

And all of this discussion thus far has ignored an important fact: the searchers who are llikely to use this feature are not looking for a web site to surf, nor products to buy nor ads to click, anyway. If I type in "population of Scranton, Ohio", chances are that peice of information is all I want. If I run that search sans the Facts feature and have to click on your site's listing to get it, the odds are right next to zero that I'm going to buy something from your site or click on your Adsense ads to book a hotel room or a rent a car in Scranton. That's not my purpose, so my visit to your site doesn't do you any good. This way, Google gives me the info I want right up front (which is what the USER wants) with a link to visit the source site for more information if I want it.

cEM

Leosghost




msg:722344
 2:42 pm on Apr 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

I would have thought that typing in "who is the pope?".

Would run you a serious risk of getting black smoke out of the top of your monitor at the moment ...and eventually white smoke and a .wav file played of bells .

Seriously tho ..Although I do think that Google play fast and loose with copyright in how they generate serps and their "cache" and don't see why I should have to tell them specifically not to steal ..

Politeness is one of the oils which smooth the workings of the world.

Plus they don't always obey robots text or tags ..." Sorry your judgeship ..I wasn't stealing ..it was just a technical hitch ..won't do it again " ..wouldn't get your average housebreaker or car theif very far in court if they were caught ..and yes one can sue ..but in some juristictions copyright and abuse thereof is also a criminal issue and protecting yours is not only a matter for those with very very very deep pockets..

Google is imposing an American legal definition of "fair use" in countries where the definitions of copyright are not the same ..this I personally find far more disturbing than any issues that M$ has had in non USA courts ..

I do however like createrrormessage's "Aunt" simili as regards traffic sent via Google ..

Letting them access and reproduce is the flip side of traffic specifically from them ..I would have zero objection if the Google spider was opt in as opposed to opt out..

I do agree that this is basically aimed at making above the fold a "pay for insertion" area ..

But then again the "free lunch" or "semi-free lunch" couldn't last forever ..

Dichotomy anyone :)

annej




msg:722345
 3:23 pm on Apr 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

I can see the rush to building glossary pages now.

twist




msg:722346
 5:34 pm on Apr 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

If I run that search sans the Facts feature and have to click on your site's listing to get it, the odds are right next to zero that I'm going to buy something from your site or click on your Adsense ads to book a hotel room or a rent a car in Scranton. That's not my purpose, so my visit to your site doesn't do you any good.

Impression ads, letting people know that your website exists. Your saying that in order to be included in search engine results we should have to give up some of our content to the search engines. It's like getting a store in a great location and then finding out you have to pay the mafia to protect you from the mafia. Sure you can always move your store to another spot but this corner brings in twice the business. Sure the mafia doesn't actually do anything to earn it's cut but you still have to pay them for the privilage of having your store in this great location. Just be glad they aren't asking you to give more yet. The possibilities for abuse are wide open.

Some website that spends thousands collecting the following data on all sorts of people,
Famous Persons name
City they lived
Very little known fact about person
Another peculiar fact about person
Famous relation 1
Famous relation 2

Search engines of tomorrow query, "All about the new pope"
Search result 1,
Name: Pope X
Search result 2,
Home: Vatican
Search result 3,
Odd Fact: His butler, who we paid $10,000 told us he eats wheaties for breakfast
Search result 4,
Odd Fact: Likes to eat orange and peanutbutter sandwichs
Search result 5,
Relation: He is related to that kid from the Mikey commercials
Search result 6,
Relation: Billy Bob Thortan is his second cousin

Atticus




msg:722347
 5:52 pm on Apr 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

createErrorMsg,

"Again, because it's a fact that seems to be getting glossed over, Google can only display information from you if you let them index your site. If you really have a problem with this feature, simply disallow googlebot to visit and index your pages."

Again, because it's a fact that seems to be getting glossed over, WebmasterWorld tends to attract alot of Webmasters, including many webmasters who like to watch their children not starve.

Your post reminds me of the fellow who once said, "Too bad AltaVista canned your top 10 listing. You have no choice but to shut up and let AltaVista rule the world."

And even AV wasn't stupid enough to 'improve' their product with the prominent placement of a completely irrevelant and incorrect answer 'feature.' It blows my mind when people say that's what searchers want. My Aunt Shirley could give you incorrect and incomplete answers to your queries all day long, wanna invest in her IPO?

BTW, I have been considering banning Gbot, as most of the traffic it now sends me is for information not contained on my site.

Yeah, that's what searchers want...

[edited by: Atticus at 5:54 pm (utc) on April 9, 2005]

Bob_Trotta




msg:722348
 5:54 pm on Apr 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

Am I missing something? Isn't the first result in the serps supposed to be the best answer? If Google can't get that right what chance do they have of getting the Prime Minister right?

I not sure how I feel about the whole idea, but I do think they should ensure absolute accuracy before releasing this. Where is the disclaimer saying: "This answer may not be true"?

(As it happens the Number 1 serp for "who is the prime minister of britain?" is correct. It's the 10 Downing Street Website.....)

Atticus




msg:722349
 6:31 pm on Apr 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

Where's the guy that goes around saying "Google is broke," all the time. He should be having a field day.

G is broke.

It's as if, having invented a brilliantly simple and workable incandescent light bulb, Edison chose not to employ his talents on developing new products, but insisted on cramming a phonograph and a motion picture camera into the light bulb. Now when I flip the light switch, I don't know if I'm going to get illumination or a rendition of "Mary Had a Little Lamb," played on a plastic kazoo.

GameMasterM




msg:722350
 7:58 pm on Apr 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

Cheap knockoff of Answers.com their definitions provider who does a fantastic job of uniting facts on a topic.
What is Google thinking?

createErrorMsg




msg:722351
 8:43 pm on Apr 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

Sure the mafia doesn't actually do anything to earn it's cut but you still have to pay them for the privilage of having your store in this great location.

You're simile almost works, but not quite. In this case, you would have to allow for the mafia actually OWNING the street corner on which your store is housed. Google is not some third party acting as an independent go between for you and the search engine. They ARE the search engine. They list your site for nothing. Now, they've got a model that potentially uses your content to post answers to simple questions without immediately directing users to your actual page. Since you are not paying them for a listing...let me repeat, you are not paying them for a listing...this is their perogative. It has nothing to do with fair, because Google doesn't owe you anything. They are not in a contract with you. If you don't want them to have access, block their bot.

letting people know that your website exists

The "Facts" answer lists the source and provides a link to it.

Again, because it's a fact that seems to be getting glossed over, WebmasterWorld tends to attract alot of Webmasters, including many webmasters who like to watch their children not starve.

I'm assuming that with this comment you are engaging in a bit of hyperbole. If you are actually counting on FREE traffic from Google in order to ensure that your children get fed, I have news for you: you have bigger problems than the Facts feature. You are essentially placing the bulk of your financial stability on the whims of an organization that barely even knows you exist. They can, do, and will make adminstrative choices with their engine that could result in any given site vanishing from their index wihtout a trace. Anyone who builds their financial house on that sort of quicksand shouldn't be surprised to see it sink.

I made my comment regarding googlebot knowing full and well that it creates a catch-22. If the Facts feature prevents potential ad-clicking-customers from visiting your content site, you dont' make money. So to prevent it from taking the content, you have to block googlebot, which drops you out of the serps altogther and then you don't make ANY money. But this, of course, is exactly my point. For a very long time we've had it both ways. Now, perhaps, we're seeing the end of that. In the near future, perhaps you'll have to have it one way or the other. But to think or imply or state that Google somehow owes it to you both ways is just preposterous.

Read the backlog of posts in all the Google forums here. You'll see that the game has always been figuring out what Google is up to, and then finding a way to persist in taking advantage of it. but there's always those voices that chime in saying it isn't "fair", implying that Google owes them a top spot, much less a listing at all.

Fact is, unless you are an Adwords advertiser or a stock holder, Google owes you nothing.

It's as if, having invented a brilliantly simple and workable incandescent light bulb, Edison chose not to employ his talents on developing new products, but insisted on cramming a phonograph and a motion picture camera into the light bulb.

Kudos on the clever simile, and from this perspective, I would agree. I don't think the Facts feature will prove to be particularly useful. What it will do is clutter up the results page. Since one of Google's greatest attractions has always been it's simplicity in design, they chip away at that foundation with every extra 'gadget' they add to the page.

cEM

Atticus




msg:722352
 9:06 pm on Apr 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

"actually counting on FREE traffic from Google"

Another fallacy. G traffic is no more free than a deer which I have to spend hours hunting down and killing with a rifle and bullets I have purchased is free.

Simply discounting webmasters by broadly painting them as freeloaders doesn't work. All the knowledge and effort that goes into creating website content IS the purchase price of a SE listing. At least that's the case with a SE that indexes the greatest possible amount of data and most intelligently, intuitively and honestly serves up the best possible results for specific queries.

I can't recall anyone ever posting here that G "owed them" something. As a SE, G's job is to mate up a searcher with the most appropriate site. If they fail to do this, they are in trouble, no matter what they do or do not owe to anybody. IF G fails to mate searchers with appropriate web sites, both publishers and searchers will become frustrated. That is the sentiment which is being expressed in this and many more WebmasterWorld threads these days.

G is going downhill, not at AltaVista speed, but at a pretty good clip nevertheless. And they are the ones who are going to have to "get over it."

createErrorMsg




msg:722353
 10:15 pm on Apr 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

Another fallacy. G traffic is no more free than a deer which I have to spend hours hunting down and killing with a rifle and bullets I have purchased is free.

Since it's a day for similes, lets keep this one going. Just because you buy bullets and a rifle and then spend hours hunting down a deer to kill it, doesn't give you grounds to complain about a river drying up, forcing the deer to migrate to a different stand of trees.

The listing is free because you did not pay for the listing.

Simply discounting webmasters by broadly painting them as freeloaders doesn't work.

I didn't discount anybody, nor did I call, insinuate, or hint that anyone was a "freeloader." Please do not put words, especially disparaging ones, in my mouth.

G is going downhill, not at AltaVista speed, but at a pretty good clip nevertheless.

There's the 'G is broke' comment someone earlier was waiting for.

cEM

Jebus




msg:722354
 10:38 pm on Apr 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

the reason google even exists is because of the webmasters that created the websites that created the need for search engines to exist... we dont know exactly how or why the deer was created

Atticus




msg:722355
 11:28 pm on Apr 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

createErrorMsg,

People often complain about things that effect their quality of life. How dare they!

Sometimes when people discuss a problem (aka complaining), they develop new ways of doing things that solves their problem. Image that!

Suppose the best friend of the guy who discovered fire told his buddy, "You have no grounds to complain about the ice age -- get used to it."

twist




msg:722356
 1:13 am on Apr 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Google owes you nothing.

Without websites, google is nothing. Without google,?.

Rosalind




msg:722357
 1:21 am on Apr 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Sometimes when people discuss a problem (aka complaining), they develop new ways of doing things that solves their problem. Image that!

Suppose the best friend of the guy who discovered fire told his buddy, "You have no grounds to complain about the ice age -- get used to it."

And in the interests of doing something to adapt to this new development, what can webmasters do about this? Because if Google Facts is successful, all the other engines will try something similar. It may be time to tuck all those juicy facts away behind robots.txt, and just leave the questions in open, spiderable form.

Or else find a way to divide the page up into spider-food and non-food, say by using images. I'm not sure how accessible that could be made, though.

Chris_D




msg:722358
 2:20 am on Apr 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

who is the prime minister of britain?

Google Fact answer:

Margaret Thatcher
Property: Prime Minister of Great Britain, 1979-90.
According to .....who2.com....

The first SERP:

number-10.gov.uk - i.e 10 Downing Street

So the "Google fact" is wrong... the SERP is right.

So why bother with the Google fact?

sasha




msg:722359
 2:22 am on Apr 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Google has not invested a dime of money they raised in their IPO into new hardware technology in any meaningful sense. Gimmicks such as this "insta-answers" may do wonders when dealing with the media. However to date I have not seen any indication that the capacity issue that paralyzes tons of sites out there by giving them "URL only listings" has ever been addressed. Google has become a media manipulator, not a search engine.

Currently a website can survive without MSN and without Yahoo and without Gigablast and without Ask Jeeves and without Mamma and Alexa etc. etc. It's hard to fathom that one day it will be able to survive wihtout Google. But what if?

createErrorMsg




msg:722360
 2:24 am on Apr 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

the reason google even exists is because of the webmasters that created the websites that created the need for search engines to exist..

This reasoning seeks to find the ultimate raison d'etre of the search engine, but stops a full step short of its goal. The ULTIMATE reason for search engines is the people who search. Users are the one's at the top of the internet food chain, and they are the one's that we all must, directly or indirectly, pander to in order to meet with success (monetary success, anyway).

Google has apparently made a decision that offering this service will make searchers happy, as it is their right to do.

Without websites, google is nothing.

Then remove your sites from their index and see if Google vanishes with a poof. Yes, without websites, Google is nothing, but the statement has to be amended to say that without ANY websites, Google is nothing. Because without YOUR website, or MY website, Google is nearly identical to what it is now.

Google took something that existed before it did (the internet) and created a search engine that took creative advantage of it. Now we must do the same: take something that exists (the way Google chooses on any given day to run it's business) and try to take creative advantage of it. This has always been the game and will continue to be the game, but I say it again...Google owes us nothing. It owes users a decent search result; it owes Adwords advertisers clicks; it owes stockholders a profit. End of list.

Sometimes when people discuss a problem (aka complaining), they develop new ways of doing things that solves their problem.

So far the discussion has been: this new Facts thing sucks, Google is broken, they're stealing my content. Zero discussion of how to work around it (until Rosalind's lucid post, that is), zero discussion about what WE can do. Just a bunch of bellyaching about what Google should or should not be doing.

But then, I don't mind the bellyaching, actually. It's this constant insinuation that Google is somehow a community effort, and that our being part of the community gives us a right to results, that gets my hackles up.

Google is a private company (well, publicly held, but you get the idea. It's not a government agency or a non-profit) in a free enterprise system. The only thing they MUST do is follow the law and follow their fancy.

They can do what they like with their search engine. If you don't like it, exercise the power that you have as an individual in these circumstances. You can:
(a)stop using Google to search the internet;
(b)stop running Adsense ads on your sites;
(c)stop advertising through Adwords;
(d)stop letting Google index and cache your site,
(e)find a way to work it to your advantage.
(f)any or all of the above.

In the interest of (e), here's something to consider:
If Google is indeed pulling information from various sites in the index for the Facts feature, and putting that information at the TOP of the SERP, perhaps the goal should be discovering the criteria G uses to pick the source. After all, the Fact comes complete with a top of the page link to the source site. I would happily exchange any given one or two sentence snippet from my site for a link at the top of the page, especially since that link comes packaged with user assumptions that my site is considered by the world's leading search engine to be the authority on the topic (otherwise, why would they choose my site to grab the data?).

I suspect we'll discover, however, as many in this thread have already hinted, that G is not actually using content from any given website, but is instead dipping into non-private sources (like university and govt websites), or sources already within their network (like answers.com) for these facts.

cEM

BillyS




msg:722361
 2:28 am on Apr 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Yeah, this one needs much work. I just tried this one:

who is the vice president of the US

Apparently just someone waiting around for something to happen!

victor




msg:722362
 3:32 am on Apr 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Another fallacy. G traffic is no more free than a deer which I have to spend hours hunting down

You are confusing "free" with "no cost"

Google, Linux, DMOZ, Microsoft security patches, viruses, etc are all free -- you are not charged money to access them.

But they are not no cost -- there are implications for choosing or using them.

It's a crucial distinction if you wish to flourish in the online world.

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