Daily SearchCast, May 30, 2006: Ask’s Memorial Day Link, About Links From Google, WikiMapia, Political Google, Google Powered TV Guide & More!

Today’s search podcast covers Ask, the only major search engine that had a special Memorial Day homepage, a quick heads up on the new Yahoo! Weather report and a reasoned breakdown about links as confusing messages appear from Google company blogs. Meanwhile, the rumors about Google Payments start to swarm and build up to the tempest that hit the likes of CNet. So, we ride the tempest wind and rain to tell you all about what we hear might be happening. Check out the new Mashup WikiMapia!. We tell you how to find a UK PacMan crop-circle gobbling up dots and much much more!

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Below are links to items discussed:

  • Mazeltov Barry & Yisha!
    If all seems quiet from hard-working chief news correspondent Barry Schwartz, that’s because he’s off on his honeymoon. Barry married Yisha yesterday, concluding the engagement he started with a wedding proposal on Ask last year. Congrats from all of us at Search Engine Watch to the happy couple! If you’d like to send your best wishes, pop by our Search Engine Watch Forums thread, Rustybrick Getting Hitched This Weekend!…
  • Ask Recognizing Memorial Day
    The Ask homepage has recognized Memorial Day with an image and link to customized search results. While Memorial Day is specifically an American holiday, Thanksgiving is also specifically American and most search engines had fun with their logo on that day last year. Yahoo!, Google and Microsoft apparently skipped the day for custom search, while Ask has nicely provided references to the history of Memorial Day, recipes and other observance tips. Postscript: We can expect most Holidays to be highlighted on Ask in the future. Our friend Gary Price wrote in to explain the Memorial Day reference at Ask is…
  • Yahoo! Weather Report
    Yahoo! announced late yesterday that they have begun an update to their Web Search index. You can expect some changes to your Yahoo! rankings over the next several days, and if you want to provide feedback, they supply a new form that you can use to do so. The form field is limited to 6 lines of text, so prepare only short commentary, but you can specify whether your issues are technical in nature, a suggestion or just general feedback….
  • About Links From Google
    The Google Sitemaps team posted to their blog in response to a question at SearchEngineWatch Seattle. Interestingly, they note that links from bad neighborhoods do not harm a site’s rankings, only links to bad neighborhoods. It has long been theorized that links from bad neighborhoods do cause ranking problems and this goes against conventional thinking. Link networks often populate quality content sites with paid text links as part of their program. If at all possible, Google obviously wouldn’t want to remove quality content from their search engine. One solution is to make outbound links from quality sites that sell links…
  • Rumor: Google Payments
    Rumors have been flying since yesterday about Google’s plan for a payment system and recent developments. Although unsubstantiated at this time, the talk is not new. Google itself has made some overtures about a pending payment system, and we can expect one to arrive sometime in the near future….
  • WikiMapia: Google Maps and Wikipedia Mashup
    Coming on the heels of the recently launched Microsoft MapCruncher, WikiMapia uses the Google Maps API and a Wiki interface. This enables users to enter or edit information with map hotspots. They ask that you refrain from adding anything that wouldn’t be useful to everyone. Currently, the entries mainly consist of empty hotspots on buildings of interest, but a UK PacMan was also spotted. The search functionality only works searching tags applied to entries. There just aren’t enough entries yet. I searched [cropcircle] from the main screen, and it limited the hotspots to the single entry with that tag. If…
  • Political Actions By Google In Washington Seen As Naive
    Threatening everything from Net Neutrality to regulating companies with operations in China, tech companies must take their cause to Washington. The Seattle Times details lessons learned by Microsoft over its antitrust woes, and characterized Google has having taken serious missteps by irritating Republicans in power with its employees modestly contributing nearly entirely to Democrats and under staffing its DC operations. Google countered that they are “not a partisan presence in Washington,” and “recently announced the hiring of Bush White House aide Jamie Brown for a senior position.” The general sense is that Google will take lessons learned from Microsoft and…
  • Google Pressures CHMoogle Into Name Change
    The chemistry search engine CHMoogle encountered opposition to its Trademark filing by Google, and decided to resort to eMolecules rather than take on the search giant. Although eMolecules’ attorneys could argue the different audience and content wouldn’t cause consumer confusion, the complaint against them met its mark with CEO Klaus Gubernator. A legal proceeding would distract the company from its mission addressing the lack of “cheminformatics” in Web-wide search engines….
  • Free New AdWords Alerts Service
    A free alert service kicks off with two alerts related to Google AdWords and AdSense. You can get daily email alerts with the costs of the most expensive AdWords both by bid and by cost per day. Today is a new alert by keyword that emails you when new advertisers appear for a keyword you supply. Assuming you don’t mind a flurry of email when tracking popular categories, this can be handy….
  • A Google Powered TV Guide
    Eric Schmidt, Google CEO, comments that their mission is to provide access to everything, including television content. Using Google search capability, coupled (for instance) with Media Center or an XBox, this vision could potentially be realized. There are questions, of course, about Internet connections fast enough to withstand the bulky data transfer that such content requires. This may ultimately get supported by a new format of advertising that Google is continually testing on a weekly basis….
  • Marchex Acquires Local-Vertical Search Company Openlist
    New York-based Openlist, a local, vertical search engine, was acquired by Marchex, which provides search and contextual marketing but also owns a network of thousands of “direct navigation” domains. Little-known Openlist was co-founded by former Jupiter analyst Matthew Berk as Local-i and has been around for roughly two years. The deal is worth $13 million in cash and stock and Berk, among several others, now joins Marchex. One can think of Openlist as Citysearch built by aggregation. I think that Openlist is doing some of the most interesting work in Local right now; and the acquisition makes Marchex a potentially…
  • Kozoru To Launch Chat-Based Search Technology, Byoms
    Internet search is in many ways fairly standard now, and although existing search engines bring out new features, or new engines appear, it isn’t often that you see anything that’s really different. However kozoru is launching a chat based search resource called byoms or ‘build your own mobile search’, with a public beta going live on June 5th. This is something of a departure from traditional search, by allowing users to run their own searches using a chat client….
  • Fixing AOL Search
    Jason Calacanis has written a forthright piece on the importance of fixing AOL search. He’s examined Google, Yahoo, MSN and AOL search, and in particular looked at the position of the first organic result, down to the number of pixels from the top and the left, together with useful screen shots. Danny wrote on the same subject of the positioning of results a couple of years ago. There’s absolutely no doubt that the positioning of organic results is very important, but as a searcher there are other things that I worry about rather more….

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