Category Archives: Search

Poynter: Google’s new +1 social search and news publishers

This week Google announced a new recommendation tool called +1 which enables users to flag up favourite search results.

Over on Poynter Damon Kiesow looks at the “significant impact” this could have on the way publishers work to draw in visitors online.

For publishers, the result is that pages given a +1 by readers will appear more prominently in Google searches, and will be highlighted as recommendations by friends within the reader’s social network. That network only extends to Google products currently, but it is expected to include Twitter and other services in the future.

And in time publishers themselves will be able to put the +1 buttons on their own web pages, Kiesow adds.

When that does happen, it has the potential to swing the balance of power in the traffic referral battles back toward Google. In the past year, the search giant has seen Facebook increase its influence as a source of web traffic.

Fast Company: Google’s journalism prize and the 5 groups who should win it

The Fast Company’s take on who should win Google’s $2.7 million contest for innovative online journalism.

Google’s philanthropic spending spree has just dropped another $2.7 million to fund innovative uses of journalism in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. After all, Google and Youtube have been a lens through which citizen journalists focused the world’s attention on the Middle East revolutions and natural disasters that have dominated the news cycle (at least until Oscars weekend). So, we rounded up 5 innovative models to inspire the entrepreneurial journalists seeking the coveted Google award.

See the Fast Company’s five suggestions for winners at this link


Google announces new Chrome extension to block ‘content farms’

Yesterday Google announced that it had launched a new Chrome extension which it claimed would “block low-quality sites from appearing in Google’s web search results”.

We’ve been exploring different algorithms to detect content farms, which are sites with shallow or low-quality content. One of the signals we’re exploring is explicit feedback from users. To that end, today we’re launching an early, experimental Chrome extension so people can block sites from their web search results. If installed, the extension also sends blocked site information to Google, and we will study the resulting feedback and explore using it as a potential ranking signal for our search results.

Read more here on the Google Chrome blog…

Data Miner: Social searching – who has the story?

There is a lot of so-called ‘noise’ on social media networks. A lot of stuff in general. But it is, at times, a great place to find leads or information about stories.

In part two of a series on “social searching”, Nicola Hughes of Data Miner UK has posted a useful guide to some of the tools you can use to cut through all the noise and find what you are looking for, including Topsy, Kurrently, socialmention, and Twitter’s advanced search options.

When you’re chasing something specific then go to Twitter’s advanced search. I’m not sure why it’s not in a more convenient place on the Twitter site itself. This gives you loads more options especially location, people and even language. By far and away the best resource for big breaking events.

See the full post on Data Miner UK at this link.

See part one – Social searching: what’s out there? – at this link Google plans digital newsstand for Android users

Talks are underway at Google to launch a digital newsstand which will include apps from media companies available on devices running Android software, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

Google hopes to launch it in part to provide a more consistent experience for consumers who want to read periodicals on Android devices, and to help publishers collect payment for their apps, these people say.

Google has been in discussion about the potential venture with publishers including Condé Nast and Hearst Corporation, the report adds.

Google launches new ‘follow news’ feature in US

Google News has added a new feature which enables users to save news searches as a bookmark and also add to their Google News homepage.

The ‘follow news’ button is US-only at the moment and a spokesperson said Google does not have “a timeline” to bring the feature to the UK at this point.

Hatip: Search Engine Land

Google News experiments with new metatags in drive to give credit where it’s due

Google News has outlined two new metatags it is experimenting with as part of efforts to ensure journalists are correctly credited for their work, by identifying the URLs of syndicated and original copy. In an announcement on its blog yesterday, Google News said:

News publishers and readers both benefit when journalists get proper credit for their work. That can be difficult, with news spreading so quickly and many websites syndicating articles to others. That’s why we’re experimenting with two new metatags for Google News: syndication-source and original-source. Each of these metatags addresses a different scenario, but for both the aim is to allow publishers to take credit for their work and give credit to other journalists.

The first metatag, syndication-source, indicates the preferred URL for a syndicated article:

…if Publisher X syndicates stories to Publisher Y, both should put the following metatag on those articles: <meta name=”syndication-source” content=””>

Then for the original-source metatag, the code would indicate the URL of the first article to report on a story with the following: <meta name=”original-source” content=””>

In both cases the tags can be used by either the syndicator or journalist responsible for the original copy to identify their work, and then also those who use it in the production of their own reports to offer credit back to those parties.

Google News says that at the moment it will not make any changes to article ranking based on the original-source tag.

We think it is a promising method for detecting originality among a diverse set of news articles, but we won’t know for sure until we’ve seen a lot of data. By releasing this tag, we’re asking publishers to participate in an experiment that we hope will improve Google News and, ultimately, online journalism.

Read more on this here…

GoAdv rebrand to reach European markets

Online media company GoAdv has announced it plans to rebrand itself as a European content farm called Populis as part of its attempt to compete with US content farms in Europe, according to paidContent:UK.

The company is reportedly “uniting its content production engine to a Demand Studios-style platform called Populis Create”. This will then send out articles through its brands’ sites which include Excite, Nanopublishing and Italian blog network Blogosfere.

Speaking to co-founder Luca Ascani, paidContent:UK reports that content farms have to adjust their methods within the European market.

Ascani says many tools to identify search trends – which articles are written to satisfy – do not account for searches done in European languages. That, he says, means the idea of creating a single how-to super-site like Demand’s eHow guide is less likely to succeed there; so GoAdv has created a network of 500 niche sites for individual topics, right down to swimming pools in France.

#WEFHamburg: Google quiet on Newspass, debunks myth that it is at odds with paywalls

Google wouldn’t be drawn today on rumoured plans for Newspass – a reported micropayment system that could be used by publishers and news websites.

Answering questions at the World Editors Forum in Hamburg, Madhav Chinnappa, Google’s recently appointed strategic partner development manager, would only say that the search company is continuing to talk to publishers about their strategies.

There’s a myth in the industry that having paid content means you’re out of Google. [But] there’s lots of stuff there that allows control at a publisher level to allow them to do what they want.

When asked by what accessibility publishers behind a paywall would have to Google’s tools (Chinnappa had showcased Fast Flip, Living Stories and YouTube direct), he said that publishers had to realise the levels of information required by tools such as map and the “quid pro quo” arrangement that means they get to use them for free. Google technologies, such as FastFlip, are opt in, he stressed.

Related reading:

#WEFHamburg: Invest in a more human side, Zeit Online editor tells Google

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#WEFHamburg: Google keynote – ‘we are not eating your omelette’

The relationship between Google and news publishers returned to the spotlight today as the search engine’s vice president for Northern and Central Europe Philipp Schindler made his keynote speech at the World Editors Forum in Hamburg.

When asked if news publishers ‘produce the eggs’ while Google ‘eats the omelette’, Schindler argued that there was a “fundamental misunderstanding” about Google’s role in the new media environment.

I do not believe at all we are eating your omelette in any way. Google sends four billion people a month to our partners. This is of significant value. We’re paying out 1.7 billion dollars a quarter to our partners.

For years Google has had a close relationship with publishers and we then later we went on to buy companies to develop products to help publishers monetise better. We helped support them through a transition process. This process was not triggered or really accelerated by Google. There is a fundamental misunderstanding that what we are seeing today was caused by Google. It was a consumer trend.

Part of the challenge is coming from technology and this is also being faced by Google, sometimes people think we are immune to it but they are wrong. The path for us is that we should play the role of a technology partner, we should support the newspaper industry in developing platforms that help them to be successful based on those technology and consumer trends we are seeing.

But this is likely to be far from the final world on this at the World Editors Forum this week as a workshop scheduled for Friday will also look at how news publishers and Google can co-operate.

Also in Schindler’s keynote speech he outlined what he sees as the biggest current trends impacting on the publishing industry, focusing on mobile technologies which he said we still widely underestimate the power of.

The mobile revolution is an unbelievably big and powerful trend. This is in no way going to go away. I believe that we are underestimating the size of the trend.

Google, he added, is now a “mobile first company” with its top engineers busy working on finding the best in mobile.

Other important trends he highlighted include what he perceives as a “fundamental shift” towards richer media, with the increasing use of visualisations, personalisation and “a higher level of smartness”.

He added that news publishers could learn a lot from the gaming industry, indicating that the use of personalisation and rich audio/visual products will be key to the successful development of online publishing.

Finally, he put forward a trend of the future, using the increasing availability of mobile connectivity to improve the ease of translating news and building worldwide audiences.

Imagine a world where anybody can access any information in any language he wants, where you can use mobile phones to automatically translate a conversation between people for example.

Your audience could become truly global. Suddenly your niche is becoming pretty big. It’s going to take a few years before it’s at a point where it is seamless, but don’t bet against this one.