Not content with being the only major search engine to list PDF files, Google now lists Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents from across the web, as well as Rich Text Format and PostScript files. Chris Sherman has a full report on the new file formats in the SearchDay article, below.
Google is also testing "Page Snapshots" with a small number of its users. These are small thumbnail images that appear to the left of each listing. They show in thumbnail format what the listed page looks like.
Don't go trying to look for an option to see this feature! It's simply something that will happen to about one percent of Google's users, and only to those who are detected to have high-bandwidth connections. The company says that if response to the thumbnails is positive, then they may be rolled out as a standard feature.
By the way, if you are seeing them and don't like them, use the "Preference" link from the Google home page, then switch off the "Page Snapshots" option.
Meanwhile, as Google's popularity has swelled, so has the interest in getting listed in the service from webmasters. To help with this interest, Google has been moving forward on a number of fronts. It has posted new information for site owners, opened an automated removal tool and even created an online forum for Google questions.
Last month, the "Google Information for Webmasters" area was unveiled. It provides answers to many questions webmasters have about how their pages are listed with Google, such as:
- Getting Listed
- Not Listed
- Incorrect Listing
- Rank Questions
- Dos and Don'ts
- Facts & Fiction
The ability to remove pages, page descriptions or cached copies of pages has also been made easier for webmasters. In particular, an automatic removal tool went up in the summer that lets you remove web pages, images, dead links or newsgroup posts in about 24 hours.
A Google newsgroup also opened in early September. It's meant to be for all things Google, not just webmaster issues. Nevertheless, site owners may find help with listing issues there.
Google says it doesn't monitor the group on a regular basis but rather now and then. It primarily relies on Google users to help each other, though it will provide assistance directly, if seen as necessary or useful. Google says it also may break out sub-groups for particular topics in the future, if appropriate.
Google Unveils More of the Invisible Web
SearchDay, Oct. 31, 2001
In-depth review of new coverage of non-HTML files provided by Google. Google says that it now has more than 35 million non-HTML files in its index, including 22 million PDF documents. Microsoft Word documents are the next most popular format, followed by PostScript files, Google says. Search Engine Watch members -- use the link on this page to reach the members-only edition written for you, which covers issues about making sure the titles of your non-HTML documents make sense and how to prevent non-HTML documents from being indexed.
Google Information for Webmasters
Google hitting your server too fast? Want to know the best way to get listed. Can a competitor hurt your rankings? Answers to these and more can be found in this area at Google.
Remove Content from Google's Index
Detailed information on removing pages, newsgroup posts, dead links or snippets from Google. Also has links to the fast, automatic removal tool.
Google Public Support Group
This is the Usenet area where Google questions are discussed.
Google evaluates subscription options
News.com, Oct. 25, 2001
Is Google planning a subscription-based search service for the corporate market? An employee suggested this would come. However, Google later said that the employee was only talking casually about business areas that Google might explore and that there are no actual plans to do this in the works. "We're not talking about subscription-based services at all," said spokesperson Cindy McCaffrey.