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Thursday, June 30, 2005

AOL launches Video search

Aol launches AOL seach. Check it out and give it a try. Search for your favorite TV shows and more.

Google Earth Closed... At Least Temporarily

Apparently, even Google's web servers can be overloaded by too much traffic, or at least by people wanting to download the new hot Google product.

Evidently, too many Google Earth download attempts have caused Google to suspend the ability to do so... for the time being anyway. When users try to access the Google Earth download page, they are greeted with a picture of a the Earth taken at night (signifying a black-out?) and a message that says:

Google Earth downloads temporarily delayed

Thanks for your interest in Google Earth, but we're sorry we can't offer you a download right now. As you know, Google Earth is in beta, and we're still building out our ability to take on new users. We're making good progress, and expect to be able to accept new downloads shortly, so we recommend you check back daily at We hope to be able to welcome you and other new planet surfers soon.

We appreciate your patience,

The Google Earth Team

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Yahoo Launches MyWeb 2.0

Yahoo launches their "Social Search Engine"

You can create your own personal searchable web
Tag and save content that matters to you.

Connect to friends and share what you know.

Search or browse to discover what your community knows
Discover what the world has tagged and shared
Browse the 9,293 pages and 4,906 tags that have been shared

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Google Earth - Free Download

Google Earth - Free Download
Lots of news today from Google, they also are now allowing people to download the Google Earth program for free. Inside Google pretty much broke the news first (even though many other sites were under embargo). In addition, Inside Google has the most detailed write up in terms of screen captures and walk throughs. The Search Engine Watch article was written by Chris Sherman and is named Google Earth Flies Free, which then Danny Sullivan blogged on this morning.

You can download Google earth here.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Google Video To Launch Actual Video Today

John Battelle reports that Google Video today will begin offering user contributed videos that have been uploaded since April (see Google Wants Your Video). In addition, users will be able to view the actual video within search results. At the moment, the service only displays content gathered mostly from television resources and only still clips are displayed, not video.

John doesn't specifically say whether it was Google itself that confirmed the news to him or rather a third party contact. Google is neither directly quoted or cited in his report.

Dirson left a comment on John's blog pointing at a Dutch blog that appears to have spotted an accidental post from the official Google Blog about the new features (and here, with Dirson comment and reprint here).

Since Google itself has leaked some of the news, we can also confirm we've been briefed about the new features that are planned to be formally announced today.

Chris Sherman will be bringing further details in SearchDay when Google lifts the embargo for those who have been prebriefed or gives us the go ahead directly to publish more.

Google isn't the only service to show user contributed video, of course. Our past article, Yahoo Launches Video Search Prototype, New Media RSS Format, covers Yahoo Video. It gathers content from crawling the web (unlike Google Video) and has an RSS feeding mechanism.

SingingFish from AOL has long accepted contributions and feed content, as well. Blinkx TV is another service that gathers by crawling and contributions. See Gary's past post, A Look At Other Video Search Tools, for more about these.

The key difference in what Google Video will offer compared to other services is inline playback. Rather than having to depend on having a particular plug-in for a particular video format -- which your browser will often annoyingly opens in a separate window -- Google Video will provide its own lightweight plug-in to display video right within the results.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Microsoft's IE 7.0 to Provide RSS Support

Dean Hachamovitch – General Manager, Longhorn Browsing and RSS Technologies - and
Amar Gandhi – Group Program Manager - use Gnomedex to provide a first look at IE 7.0. As part of their live demonstration, they reveal that Microsoft's next browser will include full RSS support.

The new browser will allow you to preview the RSS feed of the page you are viewing, before you decide with to subscribe to that feed.

Subscribing to a site's feed is extremely easy, using the same "+" button that you would use to add a bookmark.

The summer release of Longhorn Beta 1.0 will include some of the RSS experiences that will come in the full launch. eWeek has more details and Rubel points to a video demo.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005 Beta Site Unveiled

America Online's future unofficially began today, with the beta launch of its new portal marking the turning point between its subscription-based business model of the past and its ad-supported future.

The beta site is available for some users at, or can be accessed via

The company's moves leading up to this launch have been met with cautious optimism by media buyers, who generally are interested in what can offer, but want to wait and see how things play out.

The company has a host of interactive ad units up its sleeve, but those are not expected to be launched until the final release of the portal in late July. At that time, the company will also unveil other features of the portal, including three customizable start pages -- the default content-packed start page, a sparse, graphics-free page of user-defined RSS feeds, and a video-heavy portal for broadband users.

Broadband content will be key both to bringing and keeping new users, and providing rich media and video ad opportunities. AOL will also use its programming savvy to tailor parts of the site to its core demographic of 25 to 49 year old adults, while catering to a younger audience through AIM, according to David Liu, general manager of

"What we'll have is like an interactive TV channel with unlimited shelf space," Liu said.

The page of news feeds is part of what AOL is calling its "LiveWeb" strategy, which is an effort to more tightly integrate's content with the broader Web, and bring outside content into the user's experience. The default home page will include a LiveWeb module that links to search, blogs, and other community areas on the Web.

"We're trying to give people a view of what's the best stuff on the Web, and show them some things that were not part of AOL traditionally," Liu said.

Leading up to the launch, AOL has been revamping its advertising opportunities for months. It has been standardizing all of its sites on a single ad-friendly media player since April. It made some advertiser-focused changes to AOL Search in January.

When the site goes fully live next month, AOL will launch an expansive promotional campaign, taking place mostly online. Elements include rich media and video ads across several online properties, as well as a viral marketing campaign, though Liu would not divulge many details.

"Every ad unit that we're selling -- that's what we'll be buying on other sites," Liu said. "We believe in the medium."

Monday, June 20, 2005

AOL Gets Ready to Launch Free Content

I've had some interesting conversations with the execs over at, and it's clear they are getting ready to go on the offensive.

At, you can get an overview of some of the things AOL has planned, which mostly surrounds its plans to make a lot of its content available for free.

Starting Tuesday, a test version of the new portal will be accessible via a link at A limited number of features will be available at first, with more added in the coming months.

AOL believes that creating a free portal will expand its audience beyond just subscribers. Online advertising will provide the revenue.

AOL's plans include heavy promotion of video and music to go along with a snazzy new look.

Visitors will be able to watch music videos, exclusive concerts and a Web-only reality show in which the participants compete for a recording contract. AOL's Singingfish multimedia search engine will be prominently featured.

AOL has no plans to launch its own search engine index, but will be refining its smart box and clustering technology, with a new look search interface due around August.

Google's Site Targeting Beta Now Available to all AdWords Advertisers

Google has expanded the Site Targeting beta it launched back in April of this year. The feature enables advertisers to target their ads to thousands of specific content sites across the Google Network.

According to Google's Barry Schnitt, "As a result of today's launch, all advertisers can now launch site targeted campaigns, increasing the competition for ad space on websites in the Google Network. Greater competition among ads will provide users more useful, more diverse, and more relevant ads for users, while enhancing the revenue opportunity for AdSense publishers."

Site Targeting offers placement on a CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions) basis instead of the usual CPC (cost-per-click).

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Do You Need Google Sitemaps?

"It makes total sense to push new links to users quickly. We don't want to wait on the engine to deliver results - we want to get content into the engine faster. Whenever it's possible, we opt to push content rather than have it pulled. That gives us a more interactive experience with Google...", says Marshall Simmonds, Vice President Enterprise Search Marketing New York Times.

Google Sitemaps, a new tool being offered by the Google search engine, allows webmasters to inform and direct the Google website crawlers. Google hopes to “expand our coverage of the web and improve the time to inclusion in our index” by offering this new free tool. “By placing a Sitemap-formatted file on your webserver, you enable our crawlers to find out what pages are present and which have recently changed, and to crawl your site accordingly.”

There are two steps to participating in the Google Sitemaps program:

Generate your sitemap file in the correct format.

Update your sitemap when you make changes to your website.

Generating a sitemap isn’t that difficult. According to Google, “There are a number of methods you can use to create a Sitemap. You can use Google's Sitemap Generator downloadable from Google Code- it's a simple script that generates Sitemaps for basic use cases… If the Sitemap Generator will not work for your site structure, we encourage you to write your own script for generating Sitemaps and share it with others.” There are many different scripts now available by third-parties, in different programming languages. Currently, the only ‘official’ script from Google is available in Python.

For more specific information about Google Sitemaps, take a look at the Sitemaps FAQ.

The Google Sitemaps tool doesn’t come without controversy. It’s currently being discussed at length at many webmaster-related and search engine marketing-related forums, including WebmasterWorld, as well as the Search Engine Watch forums. Some say that the Google Sitemaps tool is a welcome tool and that it will help get more pages crawled. While this is true for dynamic sites and sites that have had trouble getting their pages indexed, it might not be a useful tool for every webmaster. For example, a website owner with less than 100 pages of content might not benefit at all from using the Google Sitemaps tool. If a website is designed well with easily crawlable internal links, then there’s really no reason to use the Google Sitemaps tool. The pages will be easily found by all of the web crawlers.

Not only will the Google Sitemap tool allow website owners to get more of their web pages crawled, the sitemap that’s generated will allow Google to know how often a web page has been updated (or if a page has been updated). Google already has mechanisms in place to determine the freshness of a web page. Some website owners go to great lengths to update their web pages on a regular basis. And Google already does a good job with recognizing that freshness. If a website owner is to begin participating in the Google Sitemaps program, then it appears that there would need to be a commitment towards keeping the sitemap up to date—a new file would need to be generated every time a page on the site is updated. For some, that can be burdensome.

From what I can see, the Google Sitemaps tool can be useful for some while burdensome for other site owners. Website owners need to be cautious about making a commitment to the Google Sitemaps program. If you begin creating sitemap files for the Google Sitemaps program, then continue updating those files on a regular basis. If a website is already being crawled on a regular basis and the pages are being updated in the Google index, there might not be any need to participate in the program.

Who Do You Link to? New SEO Tool

Many people get stuck in the sandbox because they can't get high quality links.

The solution is to keep churning out mediocre content and build more junk links, maybe also rent a few decent ones. Sure aging can have an effect, but a large part of the ineffective SEO problem might rest within the fundamental techniques being used.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. - Albert Einstein
Many webmasters are stingy with their links, afraid to link out to other sites. Some people view sending traffic away to other sites as losing your visitors, but linking sorta works on a karma like system.

If you don't link out to anybody and your content is not amazing then most of the best sites are not going to want to link to you. Why should they?

Certain sites are not going to want to link to your site no matter what, but you can still work your way into their community by linking at them. As you cite relevent and useful resources your site becomes more linkable. More of the sites you want to links from will send you some link love.

Linking out freely and regularly is one of the cheapest and fastest forms of marketing available. Many new webmasters drop the ball on the concept because they feel they need all the links to point their way.

In the spirit of linking, I am linking at Jim Boykin's new SEO tool, which tracks who you are linking at: Forward Links (beta). Nice touch on the beta name Jim.

Currently the tool only shows the first 100 outbound links it comes acrost.

I think Jim might further explore the neighborhood concept next week, during his WMW speech. Google Touchgraph also does a good example of showing the neighborhood concept.

Are there any good sites I should be linking to which I have not yet linked to? If so feel free to mention them below.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Google To Offer E-Payment Service

Google Inc. plans to offer this year an electronic-payment service that may compete with EBay Inc.'s PayPal unit, it was reported Friday.

Besides potentially increasing competition with the online auction site, the service could help Google, Mountain View, Calif., diversify its revenue sources, The Wall Street Journal Online said. About 99 percent of the $3.2 billion in revenue the Internet-search company took in last year was from online advertising.

Quoting people familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal said the Google service could have similarities with PayPal, which handles transactions between consumers and online merchants. Most of PayPal's business comes from EBay auctions, but the parent company has been trying to expand its use to other websites.

Companies make money through electronic-payment services by taking a commission on each transaction. PayPal accounted for 23 percent of EBay's revenue in the first quarter, or $233.1 million, the Wall Street Journal said