Highlights from the SEW Blog: Apr. 6, 2006

Featured posts from the Search Engine Watch blog, as well as our customary search headlines from around the web. If you’re not familiar with our blog, click on any of the links below, or visit the blog’s home page at http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/.

Yahoo Enhances My Web with “People Centric” Tools

Yahoo’s My Web offers both personal and social searchfeatures, but until now you’ve had to go through Yahoo 360 to invite others to share information. Later tonight, Yahoo will be dropping that requirement, allowing you to add anyone as a contact if they have saved public information in their My Web accounts.

“This is a launch to simplify the addition of contacts,” said Tim Mayer, Director of Product Management Yahoo Search. “It’s about lowering the barriers to entry to mainstream users so they can experience social search.”

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Pixsy Visual Search Uses RSS To Power Image Search Index

Stefanie Olsen of News.com reports on Pixsy’s launch of visual search at http://www.pixsy.com/. So what makes Pixsy unique? Well, it burns through RSS feeds to generate an image index of fresh and keyword relevant pictures and videos. Take a search on red flowers as an example; it uses this AJAX technology to show you details, on-click, of the image including the keywords associated with the image, the date/time/location it was indexed, the “context” it came from and the source, and a link to the source. Gary Price also has a write up on Pixsy here.

Google Toolbar Patent Dispute To Go To Court

News.com reports that the Google Toolbar patent case is to proceed after Google’s request for a summary judgment was denied. NetJumper sued Google around two years ago for patent infringement of retrieving information through a browser. From a quick look, you can see NetJumper has software named LinkZilla that enables “any website or software application to place a folder of links in user bookmarks with a single click.” If you look at the Google Toolbar feature page, it is extremely similar to the “AutoLink” feature.

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MSN Web Spam Patents Applications & Algorithms Explored

Bill Slawski has an excellent write up on web spam through the eyes of patent applications and published papers. During Bill’s research, he found PageTurner by Microsoft, which not only looks at how to establish a crawl frequency of specific Web pages, but also identifies “duplicate and near duplicate content on web pages.” From one of the papers Bill referenced in the post, he notes the usage of the words “crafty porn.” That leads him to a patent application we referenced last week named content evaluation by Microsoft. Anyway, Bill really digs deep into these algorithms and patent applications with links and abstracts pulled of content and video presentations. Read the full blog entry entitled Fighting web spam with algorithms.

AdWords Referral Program Available for AdSense Publishers

Google has launched a new AdWords referral program for AdSense publishers where publishers can earn $20 when they refer a new advertiser to Google. While Google had a very limited referral program for AdWords last year, they launched a revamped program from within the AdSense control panel several weeks ago for a small list of select publisher countries before making it widely available to all publishers.

The full rundown and all the details can be found at JenSense.

Google Real Estate? It’s Google Base Again, Google’s Vertical Play

New reports of Google Real Estate are simply what we’ve covered before, Google Base results flowing into regular Google. But it’s interesting to see how Google’s delivering on the promise of Google Base as the engine that drives a variety of vertical search engines, plus how it’s skipping the step of creating standalone sites for each vertical. I think those will still come, but the current moves that underscores what I’ve been saying to marketers for ages now — pay attention to vertical search.

In the longer version of this post, I do a closer look at things such as:

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The Thrill & Danger Of Measuring Relevancy Through Ego Searches

Last week, you may recall that Ask got a rave review from the Wall Street Journal. Robert Scoble saw that, then did an ego search for himself and decided Ask doesn’t measure up based on that. Fair criticism? Sure, to some degree. But then again, it’s easy to take a single search for anything and show that any of the “leaders” in search have problems, as well.

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Stupid Newspaper Publishers, Search Engines Are Your Friends

I left newspaper reporting about ten years ago because it was clear the industry had no idea how to transition to an online world, and I didn’t want to be stuck behind. Today’s Chicago Tribune article, Papers, Web sites in scrape on stories, just tells me things don’t appear to have improved much. Search engines, including Google, get a fresh dose of being leeches for using content. Except publishers, they don’t reprint your content. They reprint summaries and link to your articles. And if you’d get a clue, you’d understand that brings you traffic, which should make you money.

Don’t like it? Then slap up a robots.txt file to ban the news search engines and leave the traffic for the rest of us. The story’s not all bad news. Some publishers are waking up to search and figuring out how to deal with it. For another example of the search engines as menace to newspapers concept, see World Association Of Newspapers Dislikes Search Engine Exploitation, Clueless About Robots.txt Banning from February.

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